Eddie Wright: Chatham-Kent Sports Black History Month

Chatham’s Eddie Wright – CKSN.ca File Photo

When it comes to black history in ice hockey, many correlate the name Willie O’Ree to first breaking the barrier by being the first black player in the NHL.

In Chatham, the man who holds this honour, is Eddie Wright, who was the first black player to suit up for the Chatham Jr Maroons. Among the team’s top scorers from 1962-1965, Wright then advanced to play NCAA hockey for Boston University.

Born and raised in Chatham-Kent, Wright then continued to blaze a trail in the hockey community, becoming the first ever black coach at the University level when he was hired as head coach of the State University of New York in Buffalo, in 1970. As head coach, Wright collected a record of 133-130-6.

Following his role with the State University of New York in Buffalo, Wright became a scout for the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, and his former school honoured him by renaming the Alumni Arena Triple Gym to The Edward L. Wright Practice Facility.

Eddie Wright was inducted into the Chatham Collegiate Institutes’ Athletic Hall of Fame in 1997.

Wright has served as an inspiration, particularly in the hockey world, for many coaches. Still to this day, there has not been a black coach at the NHL level, with John Paris Jr. becoming the first black coach to work at the professional level with the Atlanta Knights in 1994.

Continue to follow CKSN for more stories about Chatham-Kent’s famous black athletes, coaches, and teams as we celebrate February as Black History Month.

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    Nice piece on Eddie. a great man