Giveaway! (until Feb. 27).
Val James became the first African American player in the NHL when he took to the ice with the Buffalo Sabres in 1982, and in 1987 he became the first black player of any nationality to skate for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
We're pleased to feature an excerpt from James new autobiography, Black Ice, including a short introduction revealing the harsh reality of James' experiences with racism as an NHL player, and the book's first chapter which takes us back to his first experiences on the ice, learning to skate at the not-so-tender age of 13.
His teammates looked away, pretending not to notice that feared hockey enforcer Valmore James was crying. That the events of recent days would bring tears to his eyes should not have been a surprise. Less than one hour earlier, Val and the Buffalo Sabres had finished playing a fierce road contest against the Bruins at hockey’s hallowed Boston Garden. Val had contributed the hard play, and harder punches, that led to his first call up to the National Hockey League.
The years of dreaming and hard work and fighting — especially the fighting — had all brought him to this point. The moment he took to the ice, on a spring evening in 1982, he had become part of a tiny fraternity of American players w …