The second black player to play major league professional Hockey is not listed in most of the encyclopedias, as his career, three years, were all played in the World Hockey Association.
White was born in 1945 in Nova Scotia, at eight he moved to Winnipeg where he started playing hockey. A small man, he used his speed and maneuverability to earn a spot in the IHL with the Fort Wayne Komets, he went on to play seven seasons in the minors, between Columbus, Fort Wayne and then three seasons with the Providence Reds he scored 197 goals and developed a reputation as a clean player.
He never got the chance in the NHL. In spite of good numbers playing against many future NHL stars, his contract was never purchased, he got his chance when the WHA was formed for the start of the 1972-73 season.
White was an original New York Raider, playing 13 games with one goal, before being dealt to the Los Angeles Sharks, where he scored 20 goals, finishing his first season with 21 goals, 21 assists for a total of 42 points. The little White, only 5.9 and 175 pounds was the first black player to break the 20 goal barrier.
He played two more seasons, one more in Los Angeles, then when the team moved to Michigan and changing their name to the Stags he went with them. Halfway through the season they folded and came back as the Baltimore Blades. After that, he drifted out of the game, ending up in Vancouver working construction.
A decent little player, in 145 WHA games he scored 38 goals total with 46 points. Mike Marson broke in around this time with the Washington Capitals being the first black since Willie O'ree a quarter of a century earlier to play in the NHL.
Was he a star? Of course not. Was he kept down because of his color? Likely not, he was a 20 goal scorer in the WHA, he more than likely could have been a fourth liner in the NHL if a general manager was brave enough at the time. Lots of other white players didn't get the chance either back then who ended up getting their shot as well in the WHA. Just wanted to write a bit to make sure he was remembered as the second black player and he deserves the recognition.
I assume that you mean major-league professional hockey?
Yes I believe thats what the op's stating and he's correct of course. Alton preceded Marson & Riley of the Washington Capitals, O'Ree the only other player of African American descent to have played "pro" previously in the NHL, however, there was a minor pro player, Art Dorrington who preceded White, along with Herb & Ossie Carnegie with Manny McIntyre who formed a line in Quebec called the "Black Aces" under Imlach back in the 50's, QSHL, Beliveau of course on that team (btw, you buy that Aces Club Jacket from ebbetts? Some Woodpecker did, last one, and I want it).
I dont know how you'd go about calling those guys on the Aces "amateurs" as all were paid, but certainly the Q' not exactly "major league". Indeed, Carnegie was offered a Contract with the Rangers however they wanted to assign him to the minors at a salary far less than what he was earning in PQ. As mentioned on another thread, that QSHL was paying more for talent than most NHL clubs of the era, Beliveau making $20,000 a year, more than Gordie Howe or Rocket Richard in the NHL. Going back even further to the 1900's, you had a guy by the name of Hipple "Hippo" Galloway out of Woodstock Ontario, a star on that towns team in the COHL. He went to a career as a "Barnstormer", highly paid Baseball & Hockey player playing exhibition matches all over the US & Canada. Huh? How'd ya'll like a handle like that Taco? Hipple.
Good find C58... I believe there either is, certainly was talk of it at one time to have established a Black Hockey Player Hall of Fame. In addition to the aforementioned I believe there was also a Negro League in Nova Scotia in the early 20th Century that was extremely popular for some time as well.
I am a huge WHA buff. Alton White was a three year player, I have always felt he was kind of slighted because his accomplishments occurred in the 'other' major league.
Killion, not me with the jacket, lol. No, but I did buy a Houston Aeros game worn Larry Lund jersey about two weeks ago. My wife says if I ever wear it out in public she is going to have me committed.
Thanks guys.... I am a huge WHA buff....Killion, not me with the jacket, lol.
Ya, the HHOF in Toronto as its funded in part by, managed, run by the NHL itself albeit at arms length only gives a passing nod to the WHA, whereas the US HHOF does in fact have a fairly deep reservoir of resource materials & memorabilia that they proudly display. I think the WHA should be given far more room, credence, credibility, honoured (teams, players, owners, coaches etc) in Toronto to a far greater extent than it has been for sure... and no worries bout the Aces jacket, Taco & I were discussing it on a thread weeks ago, someone looking to buy an original Quebec Aces jersey, & I know he's visited Seattle since, threatening to go to ebbets, snatch it up.
I refereed games that he played in when he played Jr. for the Winnipeg Rangers. I always respected his talent.
Interesting article, the writer John Horan making some good points, taking shots at the NHL for its refusal to this day to really give the WHA its due.... I'd rather suspect that as Ref & or Linesman you may well have heard some rather nasty slurs on-ice & in-game as was commonplace back in the day, be a player Black, Jewish, from Newfoundland, Sweden or wherever. Its incredible to think of in this day & age, but unfortunately yes, racism, bigotry, xenophobia of all kinds occasionally reared its ugly head in the heat of the moment in-game or to simply incite a riot, but despicable really when its exacerbated in deliberately subjugating a humans right to be playing in a league simply because of the colour of his skin, ethnicity or religious beliefs. Yet it was all too common, still happens today... Wayne Simmonds of the Flyers in a 2011 exhibition game in London Ontario with a banana thrown onto the ice by some Neanderthal. Sweeney Schriner throughout his career being called every name in the book. On & on. The really ugly side of a White-Bread Game.
I'd rather suspect that as Ref & or Linesman you may well have heard some rather nasty slurs on-ice & in-game as was commonplace back in the day, be a player Black, Jewish, from Newfoundland, Sweden or wherever. Its incredible to think of in this day & age, but unfortunately yes, racism, bigotry, xenophobia of all kinds occasionally reared its ugly head in the heat of the moment in-game or to simply incite a riot, but despicable really when its exacerbated in deliberately subjugating a humans right to be playing in a league simply because of the colour of his skin, ethnicity or religious beliefs.
Over the many, many games that I officiated, in both amateur and professional hockey, I didn't hear that many racial, or religious slurs from the players, spectators or management toward players. If I heard it from player to player or from the bench, I handled it in the appropriate way. Myself being Jewish, I only heard my religion brought up once when I was officiating and that was shouted at me by a spectator when I reffed in the IHL. My father told me that he heard the GM of one of the Jr. teams making a slur about me and my religion during one of the Jr. games that I was reffing when he didn't like a call that I made against his team. When I was voted into the Manitoba Hockey Hall Of Fame, that former GM was on the selection committee and he voted for me.
Over the many, many games that I officiated, in both amateur and professional hockey, I didn't hear that many racial, or religious slurs from the players, spectators or management toward players...
True enough, that it was slapped down pretty quickly on the ice, be it by the Ref's or player on player delivering retribution. The only time I can ever remember anything like that in the late 60's & early 70's was in the deliberate targeting & baiting of French Canadian & Maritime players in Ontario. Derisively called Pepsi's & Newfy's, most imports from those provinces generally highly skilled players. Cant beat them using speed, skill & talent, frustrated, might as well as start a riot instead. An attitude that was fairly prevalent at that time. Salming in Toronto. Some serious hash slung at him during his first few seasons verbally, face washes, sucker punches, needless slashing, elbows up etc.