I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.
Whatever ends up happening with the NHL this season, hockey will go on.
Hockey is so much more than the National Hockey League.
Down in Tennessee, Willie O’Ree, the NHL’s first black player, is teaching kids to play hockey.
O’Ree heads up the NHL’s Diversity Task Force. He guesses that in the nine years since the program launched, it’s helped around 30,000 kids. If even 1% turn pro, that’s 300 players. It seems the first success story is goalie Gerald Coleman, drafted by Tampa in 2003′s seventh round. But there will be more. And the more will keep hockey going, even if the NHL shuts down.
Oh. And I wrote about a similar New York program earlier this year for New York Sports Express. Sadly, NYSX, New York’s only weekly sports paper went under last week. RIP.