During Black History Month, WXYZ explored the reasons behind the struggle of diversity and inclusion within the sport of hockey, at all levels. As an additional installment to that coverage, the NHL’s Black Hockey History Tour made a stop to Detroit at Jack Adams Arena and it brought in a large crowd.
The @NHL’s black hockey history truck tour came to Detroit. I toured it w/ Jason McCrimmon, @DetroitRedWings ambassador & Detroit Ice Dreams founder.— Jeanna Trotman (@JeannaTrotmanTV) March 28, 2022
Representation in hockey is important. “I was a HUGE Yzerman fan, once I learned about Jerome Iginla, that shifted my viewpoint.” pic.twitter.com/85HULvHQjO
Working with the Red Wings as an ambassador to grow the game of hockey in Detroit, is Jason McCrimmon. He is a Detroit native and former professional hockey player. He was the first ever African American player to be named a captain in the Finnish Hockey League. McCrimmon is the founder of Detroit Ice Dreams and the ambassador for the Red Wings Learn, Play, Score Program.
“With that program, we do a lot of street hockey stuff that we get more of a reach in the inner city with kids playing the street hockey aspect and then hopefully getting them inside the arenas to get to the ice hockey aspect as well,” said McCrimmon.
Inside the NHL’s mobile museum there was plenty to see. From historical artifacts to game-worn gear. It showcased the faces of the future and the players of the past. There was also a section that showcased the country’s pioneering grassroots programs aiming to grow the game. Recognized was Detroit Ice Dreams.
“Anything that we can do, especially to have that Detroit logo,” said McCrimmon. “That’s my hometown. We want to help, not just kids, many families… to be able to help and be positive, that’s our main thing be positive and promote success within your own right.”
Jason said it’s important to see people who look like you in the sport of hockey and representation is a huge factor in growing the game, especially in inner-city communities.
“It was a huge inspiration for me, I look at those guys like heroes,” said McCrimmon. “Growing up, even though I was a huge, huge Yzerman fan, once I learned about Jerome Iginla, that shifted my viewpoint. That was one of the guys I wanted to play like.”
The growth of the game is happening. And with people like Jason McCrimmon and experiences like the NHL’s Black Hockey History tour at Jack Adams Arena, there’s no better time to get in the game, than now.