History was made in the 2020 NHL draft when Quinton Byfield was drafted 2nd overall, becoming the highest drafted Black NHL player in history. This isn’t a surprise to many, Byfield is an 18-year-old All-star scoring 29 goals and 61 points in 64 games last season in the Ontario Hockey league. Being drafted this high as a Black man in the NHL is a big deal because it’s not often you see Black NHL players. Another Black NHL player Evander Kane went on Twitter to congratulate Byfield on his accomplishment.
Growing up, Byfield saw very few players like himself
,; he grew up in a household not surrounded by hockey and only had few Black professional hockey players to look up to. Byfield wants to change that. 2020 has been a year of change and lots of social issues coming about. With Byfield’s sudden spark in public popularity, he made it his task to create a conversation about race and equality. Byfield talked about the importance of exposing young Black hockey players to the game and breaking the cycle of Black players being a minority in the sport of hockey.
It seems like perfect timing that Byfield has been drafted in the state of the world today. Race and equality are such an important conversation to be had and finally it’s coming into fruition. Big sports leagues such as the NBA and the NHL have started to speak out and have conversations about this topic but there still isn’t enough Black NHL players for young Black hockey players to have people to look up to. Race and equality in hockey is still an issue but can be changed over time.