The Boston Globe Sunday Magazine had an interesting piece on former Bruin Willie O’Ree, aka the NHL’s first black player.
O’Ree works for the league, doing outreach on behalf of the NHL’s diversity program. The article raises the idea that O’Ree’s deployment (he’s on the road about 200 days a year) is more cosmetic than an actual commitment to diversity. I’m not sure how big NHL Diversity (the initiative, not the idea) is, but if it’s just O’Ree, they might consider making some more hires.
This is as good a place as any to plug Cecil Harris’ wonderful Breaking the Ice: The Black Experience in Professional Hockey, a great book about the struggle for blacks to break-into and then survive in hockey.
Also, the Times had a piece on Wayne Gretzky as coach. I love these things because they rarely come out and say what’s pretty obvious to anyone who’s watched the Coyotes: Gretzky isn’t a very good coach. I think the problem is amplified in Phoenix, where Gretzky doesn’t have any talent to work with. Things might be a little different if he had a legitimate top-six forward.