Black head coaches face each other for first time in ECHL history

Kalamazoo Wings

Hockey history was made in Kalamazoo, Mich. on Wednesday. For what’s thought to be the very first time in North American guys’s hockey history, 2 Black head coaches lagged the benches for an expert video game when Jason Payne’s Cincinnati Cyclones went head-to-head with Joel Martin’s Kalamazoo Wings in the minors ECHL.

The Wings won the video game, 2-1, however Payne and Martin did something extraordinary in a sport that has actually seen extremely couple of Black head coaches in general. In his postgame interview, Payne stated he hopes youths of color can see the video game as evidence that they can chase their dreams in hockey too.

“It’s been a long time coming and it’s great for hockey in general and the world in general to be able to see two coaches of color coaching against each other, making the jump, making these historical steps,” Payne stated, by means of NHL.com. “Joel and I, we’ve worked hard to get where we are and to make this step and impact in hockey.

“The kids get to see gamers of color and state, ‘I can be that gamer.’ Now they get to see 2 men as the term goes, ‘bench managers,’ and they can state, ‘Oh, there’s another position I can potentially get to one day if I strive enough at it.’ That’s what’s most satisfying for everybody.”

Martin was thankful to be part of the historical minute, however he was even better that he had the ability to do it with somebody he thinks about a pal in Payne.

“It’s humbling to be a part of history,” Martin stated. “I think it’s super cool to be able to do it with somebody that’s been a friend of mine now for a while after coaching with him in the league there, Jason Payne. So that makes it a little extra special.”

Payne and Martin are both attempting to reach the NHL ranks, which would be another significant minute in hockey history. So far, Dirk Graham has actually been the only Black head coach in NHL history. He coached the Chicago Blackhawks for 59 video games in the 1998-99 season.



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