The NCAA’s First Black Hockey Coach: Eddie Wright | Black History Month

Eddie Wright - Hockey
Eddie Wright with the Boston University hockey team – Photo from the Chatham-Kent Black Historical Society

Hockey remains a predominantly white sport. Eddie Wright however, broke barriers and found success in hockey long before inclusion was granted for most.

After becoming the first Black player to suit up for the Chatham Maroons hockey team locally in 1962, finding success alongside his linemates, and best friends, the Japanese Canadian duo of Mel and Herb Wakabayashi.

In Chatham however, Wright had little support from the stands, as his family did not attend games due to the fervent anti-Black racism regularly spewed at Wright from the stands.

Wright advanced to play NCAA hockey for Boston University.

Due to anti-Black racism, Wright found is difficult to crack the Boston roster in his first years at the school, but eventually became one of the most impactful and important players in program history. He graduated with a Masters in Physical Education.

Shortly after his graduation in 1970, Wright became the first Black coach in NCAA hockey history when he was hired by the State University of New York in Buffalo. As head coach, Wright collected a record of 133-130-6.

Following his role with the State University of New York in Buffalo, Wright became a scout for the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, and his former school honoured him by renaming the Alumni Arena Triple Gym to The Edward L. Wright Practice Facility.

Eddie Wright was inducted into the Chatham Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.

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