Blake Bolden is a woman of many firsts. She was the first African American woman to be a first-round draft in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) and to play in the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL). She’s also the first black female scout in the league. Bolden is keen on using her platform to help diversify the game and establish her voice. How did she get to where she is now? Here’s her story.
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Blake Bolden’s Early Years
Blake Bolden was born in Ohio on March 10, 1991. She started her hockey journey in a minor league playing for the Cleveland Barons and later the Ohio Flames. For her education, she went to Northwood School, which had an amazing hockey program.
She was the team captain and was part of the American team that won the gold medal in the U18 World Championships. After, the athlete joined Boston College and played for the Boston College Eagles women’s ice hockey.
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Blake Bolden’s Professional Career
After her college career, she joined the CWHL team the Boston Blades, after a historic first-round draft in 2013. Two years later, she won the Clarkson Cup.
In 2015, Blake Bolden wrote another piece of history. After joining the Boston Pride, she became the first African American woman to play in the NWHL. The player added another trophy to her cabinet after winning the Isobel Cup.
After two years at Boston Pride, she was on the move again, joining a Swiss team, HC Lugano. Blake Bolden was here for a year and returned to the NWHL with the Buffalo Beauts. In that season, she won the Defensive Player of the Year.
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Blake Bolden’s Life After Hockey
Bolden joined the Los Angeles Kings as the Growth and Inclusion specialist and scout. She became the first black woman scout in the league.
Her role came after attending a Black Girl Hockey Club in 2019, where she met Luc Robitaille, who was the president of the Los Angeles Kings. One of her first assignments meeting the captains of the team, Anze Kopitar and Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who were facing each other.
Blake Bolden grew in her role through which she met celebrities like Wyclef Jean and Tiffany Haddish. Through this, she found her way into broadcasting. She’s an analyst for NHL Network NBC Sports and Sportsnet.
Bolden is deliberate about using her platform to bring diversity and create a path for more black and people of color to join the sport. It’s important to have a diverse voice in any sport. Hockey has its work cut out and has to do more than it already is, to allow the involvement of many more people.
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