Ok so about a week ago, TNT’s Anson Carter went on TV and said something to the effect of “The Minnesota Wild don’t have any depth”. That was the gist of the take, you can go back and find it if you want. Anyone who has watched the Wild for more than 3 games knows that the only thing this franchise has is usually depth. So naturally, Wild fans took to Twitter to inform Carter of his mistake. Then he doubles down with this.Which, like, that’s just like, your opinion, man. It’s a stupid opinion, but you’re allowed to have it. Obviously Anson Carter has a lot of hockey to watch for his job and probably isn’t watching the Wild every night so he doesn’t know that the Wild are mathematically the deepest team in the league according to Dom Luszczyszyn. And he is definitely right that that Blackhawks team is pitiful. But then…then this happens.
Russo comes back at him, respectfully and with facts. Anson laughs it off, chirps Russo and ends his tweet with #CarryOn so naturally that’s the end of it and it never gets brought up again by either man.
PSYCHE!Yeah no, a WEEK LATER, Anson Carter inexplicably brings this feud back up. If you haven’t seen the clip, go ahead and watch for yourself. Draw your own conclusions.
Whew. Anson, you’re not a bad dude but this angle to take is about as smart as leaving a donut on an anthill. I have no idea how or why race is getting brought into this conversation that started with a bad take about depth. And Anson is so determined to get this out into the airwaves that when Wayne Gretzky tries to steer the conversation to, y’know, actual current events in hockey, Anson Carter grabs the wheel and steers that shit right back. The other panelists look mega uncomfortable, but not in the way that the Get Uncomfortable pledge would want.
Anson Carter, but the text is white for secret SEO boostingHonestly, the discourse had been funny up until that point. Our pals at SotaStick dropped a fantastic inside joke shirt, the memes were fun, and overall everyone is just having a good time chirping and talking puck. Which is why it’s a damn shame that Anson Carter brings up the race card. So far, no word from Russo on the video but a LOT of people in media are coming to his defense. Love to see that.
Anson Carter is a big dummy for trying to add race into this discussion. Especially because there are plenty of other conversations in hockey where his insight on race would help. There are actual problems with racism in hockey. A beat reporter fact checking a black analyst on a blatantly incorrect take is not one of them. And I know that as a white guy who’s never played organized hockey that my take doesn’t matter. But Anson Carter pulling this shit is actively hurting the work that groups like the HDA and Black Girl Hockey Club do.
So what do we do with Anson Carter?
At this point, Anson Carter won’t care. He’s being ratio’d to oblivion on Twitter and I’m sure he isn’t losing a wink of sleep over it. I think the move is to focus on the organizations and people who are working to remove racism from the beautiful game of hockey. And I want to be one of them! To quote our best friend and gameday alarm clock Marc Rebillet, racism sucks!
So here are, in my estimations, the Top 7 black contributions to hockey.
7. The Sports Announcer SNL sketchOne of SNL’s funniest sketches in the last decade. Period. Point blank. Chance the Rapper’s rinkside reporter has no idea what he’s talking about and it is hysterical. The sketch pokes fun at the cold, player names being funny, and the fact that hockey is an inherently difficult sport for new fans to understand and appreciate. Chance’s Lazlo Holmes is cold and confused the entire time and it never stops being funny. He should have gotten a new winter coat! Lazlo also christens the beautiful battle cry: “Let’s do that hockey!”
6. The Black Girl Hockey Club and Hockey Diversity Alliance
The work these two organizations are doing really can’t be overstated. I mentioned the BGHC’s Get Uncomfortable campaign earlier. They’re also focused on representing women of color in hockey too. They’ve got a lot of great programs, and it’s awesome that there’s a group dedicated to fighting that fight.
The HDA is, in turn, reaching out across all sports to stand together against racism.
The HDA partnered with Bud Light to put together this gutwrenching PSA to begin their #TapeOutHate campaign, and I really do believe they’re making hockey better for the next generation.
While we’re on the subject of growing the game, it’s not exactly a direct comparison, but I need to throw out an honorable mention to Minnesota based DinoMights. They’re a local part of the NHL’s “Hockey is for Everyone” initiative that’s doing a ton of great work getting underprivileged youths involved in hockey. Go check ’em out.
5. NBCSN’s Hockey Culture show
Truth be told, I’m being a little cheeky with this one. But Anson Carter’s old show on NBCSN was sincere and interesting. “Changing hockey culture one interview at a time” is cliche, but Anson’s on the right track. Take this one from last year where he interviews William Douglas about diversity growth in hockey. These conversations aren’t always fun, but Anson really does do a good job with making what could be a treacherous conversation into a fun one.
4. The Chocolate Rocket
John Paris Jr. is the first known black hockey coach to win a Championship. Coach Paris led the Atlanta Knights to win the Turner Cup in the 90s. He did that all while boasting one of the greatest nicknames ever. He wrote a book you can get here.
3. Big Buff, PK Subban, Matt Dumba (and a ton of other awesome players)
Seriously, there are so many awesome black players. Jarome Iginla, first black player to win the Rocket Richard and score 1,000 points. PK Subban is an icon (ignoring his slew-footing tendencies this year) in multiple markets, and arguably was one of the biggest reasons the Predators fanbase grew so much while he was there. Dustin Byfuglien is such an absolute beauty that he just decided to hang up the skates the moment he felt like he would rather go fishing. Matt Dumba is maybe one of the best leaders the Wild organization has ever had. Anthony Duclair is growing the game in Miami!
There’s a bunch of guys past and present who are absolute studs on the ice. But they bring their own charisma to the game and have helped evolve the league into one where fans are actually enjoying it when players peacock a bit.
2. The Butterfly Style
Yeah, I didn’t know this either! Way back in 1900, The Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes was founded by African Nova Scotians. It was likely the first league of its kind and it was a great time for all who attended. The most notable difference between the CHLM and the still-new NHL though? CHLM goalies were allowed to drop to the ice to stop the puck. That’s awesome. It wasn’t until World War I before the NHL started letting goalies drop to stop.
1. Willie O’Ree
I mean this has to be 1. Willie O’Ree is a legend. The Jackie Robinson of hockey. He’s the first black player to ever play in the NHL and a Hockey Hall of Famer. The fact that he had to wait until 2018 to be recognized is it’s own thing. Willie O’Ree is a badass, he played his entire (far too short) NHL career blind in his right eye. If only the Habs organization in the 60s didn’t screw him over. O’Ree TORCHED dudes in the WHL for years. It’s a damn shame he didn’t get a chance to stick around because he was clearly too good for The Dub. O’Ree’s work off the ice has been even greater though. He’s been an official Diversity Ambassador since 1998 and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the latest generation of hockey players is the most diverse one we’ve ever had.
Don’t let Anson Carter being a weiner on national television distract you from the fact that the Minnesota Wild are a deep team and are covered by one of the most respected journalists in the game.
Minnesota sports weren’t stressful enough, so I went to Auburn. Diehard everything fan. Will drink beer for money. Deathly allergic to chicken.