The National Hockey League (NHL) lags behind its counterparts – the National Football League (NFL) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) – in terms of the representation of black players’ numbers.
As of 2023, only 3 per cent of the league is composed of players from different ethnic backgrounds while the rest is composed of white players. Different sources indicate that there are less than 60 active black players in the NHL.
Let’s take a look at the top 10.
- Evander Kane
- Anthony Duclair
- K’ Andre Miller
- Seth Jones
- Jalen Chatfield
- Wayne Simmonds
- Isaak Philips
- Gemel Smith
- Malcolm Subban
- Bokondji Imama
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1. Evander Kane
Evander Kane plays for the Edmonton Oilers and is one of the black players in the NHL. He joined the league in 2009 after the Atlanta Thrashers drafted him as the fourth overall pick and handed him a contract.
However, Edmonton Oilers who were having a significant drop in performance signed him in 2022. He played 43 games, scored 16 goals, assisted 12 and secured 28 points for his team.
Evander has played a total of 853 games, scored 302 goals, assisted 271 and has a total of 573 points.
2. Anthony Duclair
In the 2022-2023 season, Duclair played 20 games, scored 2 goals, assisted 7 and scored 9 points. Throughout his career, he has played 470 games, scored 122 goals, assisted 139 and scored 261 points.
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3. K’ Andre Miller
Andre Miller is among the black players in the NHL. He was the first Minnesota native to be drafted into the league. The New York Rangers, which is his only team so far, picked him as the number 22 overall draft pick in 2018.
At the same time, he was still playing in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). In 2020, he ended his college playing days in favour of going pro. He signed an entry-level contract with the Rangers.
In the 2022-23 season, Andre has played 79 games, scored 9 goals and assisted 34. In total, he’s played 214 games, scored 21 goals and assisted 24.
4. Seth Jones
Jones, another black player in the NHL started his career with the Nashville Predators in 2013. He played there for two years and then he was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets for the next six years.
In 2021, Jones, who plays in defence joined Chicago Blackhawks and recently signed an eight-year contract worth $76 million.
During the 2022-23 season, he played 72 games, scored 12 goals and assisted 25. Overall, he has played 730 games, scored 82 goals and provided 292 assists.
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5. Jalen Chatfield
Jalen is another black player in the NHL. He has played in different leagues before he joined the NHL. He was in the Ontario Hockey League and American Hockey League before he signed for Vancouver Canucks..
After his first year in the NHL, he went back to the AHL and returned. This is where he currently plays, for Carolina Hurricanes. In the 2022-23 campaign, he played 78 games, scored 6 goals, assisted 8 and tallied 14 points.
6. Wayne Simmonds
Simmonds was picked number 66 when the Los Angeles Kings drafted him into the NHL IN 2007. Since then, he has played for five other teams:
He currently plays for the Toronto Maple Leafs whom he joined in 2020 as a free agent. In the 2022-23 season, he’s managed to play 18 games, scored none, and assisted and scored two points.
Throughout his NHL career, Simmonds has played 1,037 games, scored and assisted 263 goals and made 526 points.
7. Isaak Philips
He was a junior hockey player in the Ontario Hockey League when the Chicago Hawks came calling and become one of the Black players in the NHL. He was the 141st overall pick and landed an entry-level contract at Chicago in 2021.
He’s just getting started in the NHL. So far, he has played 20 games, scored 1, assisted 4 and made 5 points.
8. Gemel Smith
Smith began his career with Dallas Stars in 2014 and made his professional debut a year later at Texas Stars, Dallas’ affiliate team. He was recalled back in 2016, and that kicked off his career in the NHL. He’s played for Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings. Currently, he plays for Tampa Bay Lightning.
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9. Malcolm Subban
Malcolm started his career in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) with Belleville Bulls in 2009. In 2014, he moved to the NHL and attended a training camp with the Boston Bruins. However, his performance was unsatisfactory and was immediately moved to the team’s affiliate Providence in the American Hockey League (AHL).
He later returned to the NHL and has played for three other teams:
- Vegas Golden Nights
- Chicago Blackhawks
- Buffalo Sabres (Current team)
10. Bokondji Imama
For the first four years of his NHL career, he was in the American Hockey League (AHL) playing for Ontario Reign, an affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings.
After two years, Bokonji Imama was traded to Arizona Coyotes but was again sent to play in the affiliate in AHL. He was later recalled and has since made his debut in the NHL. So far, he has played 9 games in the league, scored 1 goal and has one point to his name.
These are some of the top black players in the NHL. Despite the lack of representation, they are fighting for change to make the game better for the next generation of players.
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