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Larry 'King' Kwong

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Old
03-12-2011, 10:00 AM
  #1
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Larry 'King' Kwong

In the latest issue of The Hockey News, there is a short piece about Larry 'King' Kwong.

Typically when you hear or read about racism and the 'color barrier' you hear about Willie O'Ree breaking the color barrier in 1958.

However, Larry Kwong really broke the color barrier in 1948 as the first non-white in the NHL. Larry Kwong is Chinese American/Canadian.

He skated one shift for the New York Rangers in 1948 before being sent back down.

Raised by a single widowed mother of 15 children. He became a star player in Canada. And later in the Swiss league and British league.

He gained praise by Jean Beliveau, for his skill level and his "beautiful" style.

Chinese Americans/Canadians were subject to the same segregation as African American/Canadians.

Why is this feat not more widely recognized?

Career stats:
http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/p....php?pid=12948



In 1948, Lester Patrick was GM of the New York Rangers, and Frank Boucher head coach.


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Old
03-12-2011, 10:16 AM
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I Am Chariot
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cool thanks for posting

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03-12-2011, 10:30 AM
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Never even heard about the guy. You do have a point on how he seems to get ignored when talking about the color barrier thing.

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03-12-2011, 11:13 AM
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I never heard of him either until I read the Hockey News article.

Looking at his career numbers, and what Jean Beliveau said, he must have had some serious talent too.

Such a shame that racism and other issues prevented some guys from playing in major pro sports in the past.

Thankfully we as a society are past that for the most part.

Still, I would imagine he would have paved way for more Chinese/Japanese/Korean and so on American/Canadians if he had been given a real chance.

Thankfully, Willie O'Ree did stick in the league and paved the way for guys like Iginla.

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03-12-2011, 11:16 AM
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He's really an interesting story. It's probably stepping on toes and all, as this is a VERY touchy subject, but I've always looked at him as breaking through the color barrier and NOT Willie. At that time, any person of Asian descent was going to go through some **** due to WWII. Didn't matter that he was really of Chinese descent, unfortunately. It was a huge feat that is widely not cared about due to him.

Again, it's a very touchy subject and it's always going to be somewhat controversial, but I think you have to look at him as being a pioneer. Even if many in hockey don't want to mention him as one, for whatever reason.

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Old
03-12-2011, 11:39 AM
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asians were often forgotten with history. one only has to take any HS american history class to see that. asians have been in this country since the 1700's but are pretty much glossed over and only mentioned pertaining to railroads and interment. this guy truly broke the color barrier and should be recognized as doing so no disrespect to Willie.

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03-12-2011, 11:47 AM
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I agree.

I don't understand it.

I watch a lot of NHL Network and listen NHL Home Ice on sattelite radio.

And when the subject is brought up, Willie O'Ree is the one they say broke the color barrier.

I'm not taking anything away from Willie. He had to endure a lot. He did. He overcame. Succeeded. And continues to be an ambasador to the game and a pioneer.

But Larry Kwong is the one who really broke the color barrier. And is not recognized more widely.

Just a shame, IMO. His story could help influence hockey in other areas of the world. And perhaps influence at least some very talented kids to play the game and strive to reach the NHL one day. Growing the game.

We may have missed a generation or two of very good hockey players from China/Japan/Korea and other areas because Kwong's feat is not more widely recognized.

Look at the profound effect someone like Mats Zuccarello has in Norway.

Maybe I'm reading too much into it. But still. Its a shame how we were as people. And even still today. Hate is wrong and bad.

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03-12-2011, 12:30 PM
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Not only is he not more recognized widely, he's really not recognized at all for it.

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03-12-2011, 03:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan. View Post
He's really an interesting story. It's probably stepping on toes and all, as this is a VERY touchy subject, but I've always looked at him as breaking through the color barrier and NOT Willie. At that time, any person of Asian descent was going to go through some **** due to WWII. Didn't matter that he was really of Chinese descent, unfortunately. It was a huge feat that is widely not cared about due to him.

Again, it's a very touchy subject and it's always going to be somewhat controversial, but I think you have to look at him as being a pioneer. Even if many in hockey don't want to mention him as one, for whatever reason.
As long as we're on the topic I'll get political too.

I think that past racism is shoved down our throats over and over to try to make people feel guilty and influence the current political climate. That's why some groups like Orientals are glossed over because other less achieving groups are higher up on the politically correct scale.

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03-16-2011, 11:46 AM
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It is a shame the Kwong didn't get the opportunity to have a career in the NHL. But does skating one shift really break the color barrier?

O'Ree played the majority of a whole season with the Bruins. He had to travel with the team, and play at every arena in the then 6 team league.

If another black player happened to have a singular, token at-bat in a MLB game prior to Jackie Robinson (imagine Eddie Gaedel being black, for example), would it have diminished Robinson's breakthrough?

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03-16-2011, 12:29 PM
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No one was taking anything away from O'Ree. And I even said that in the OP I believe. That wasn't the purpose of the thread.

The purpose of the thread was to simply point something out that I hadn't known.

It isn't even about who was first but about bringing awareness to an accomplishment that was made, that rarely gets mentioned in talks of hockey history.

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03-16-2011, 01:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Atoz View Post
As long as we're on the topic I'll get political too.

I think that past racism is shoved down our throats over and over to try to make people feel guilty and influence the current political climate. That's why some groups like Orientals are glossed over because other less achieving groups are higher up on the politically correct scale.
I agree and tried to echo that in a part of the post I ended up deleting.

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03-16-2011, 04:18 PM
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One of "15" kids?? Guess we know what killed his dad.

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03-16-2011, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by HAPPY HOUR View Post
One of "15" kids?? Guess we know what killed his dad.
His mom?

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03-16-2011, 11:26 PM
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I'm going to get blasted for this I'm sure, but here I go.
This is apples and oranges. First, Nobody who skates one game has broken much of a barrier, IMO. Somebody has to be the first at everything. To me, just because there has been a guy 60 years ago of chinese descent played one game, does not mean any barrier has been broken. He didn't break anything. He played one game. There is signifigance to that event, but let's not overblow it, or pretend that if this had been more widely publicized, there would be a wave of chinese hockey players that would be skating in NHL rinks right now.Secondly, the NHL, IMO is dramatically different from what was going on in MLB. It's not like there were entire viable leagues of talented black and chinese hockey players who were being frozen out because of the color of their skin the way there was in Baseball. I'm sure those first guys didn't have it easy by any stretch, but the difference is this: In baseball you had guys who were not allowed to play in the majors who would have been some of the best players in the entire league had they been allowed. That is the definition of racism. Not allowing the best talent to play for no other reason than who they are. The NHL has always been the most diverse league in North American sports. Not necessarily racially, but you have players from everywhere, and they all fought their way in. First it was Americans struggling to get respect. Then Swedes. The fall of the USSR led to the Russians.In terms of actual impact on the game, from a racial prespective, I would say your first true breakthrough guy is Grant Fuhr. No way to measure his impact on the game. He played on the best team, he was one of their best players, and he was amazing, not some fourth liner on a cup of coffee. He was the best in the game at his position. That's the kind of stuff that gets kids noticing and wanting to play. Next is Jarome Iginla. One of the best players in the league. Another huge thing that will not be measured for years is what's going on in Atlanta right now. To see that it's not just one guy here, one there, but that there's alot of black players, particularly in a large black community, could have huge impact on this game 15 years from now. But to make it seem like somehow Larry Kwong's one game could have changed history is crazy. It's like saying if we had one American Cricket player there would be a ton of us playing years later. It's just not realistic.

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