Quinton Byfield grew to turn into the highest-drafted Black participant in NHL historic previous on Tuesday when the Los Angeles Kings took him No. 2 normal throughout the 2020 NHL Draft.
Given the sport’s ongoing struggles to diversify its experience — along with the well-known difficulties its few Black players have expert — the milestone carried symbolic which implies that wasn’t misplaced on the 18-year-old coronary heart.
“That’s one factor explicit,” Byfield instructed reporters. “Being throughout the file books for one thing is definitely large explicit, nevertheless that significantly. My dad and mom didn’t play hockey or didn’t have an extreme quantity of knowledge about that. Type of merely rising the game collectively. I imagine it merely reveals that there’s a number of different for everyone on the earth and that you could be play every sport and obtain success in it.”
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This summer season season, NHL players protested racial inequality by declining to take part in Stanley Cup playoff video video games for two days. Whereas that movement bought right here after players in several leagues, akin to MLB and the NBA, referred to as off video video games, it nonetheless represented a tone shift from one of the simplest ways hockey has often approached social factors.
There have been protests all by North America since late May, primarily in response to police violence in the direction of Black people.
Byfield has been participating in throughout the Ontario Hockey League for the Sudbury Wolves, and whereas he understands the historic significance of being a extraordinarily touted Black prospect, he moreover is targeting excelling on the ice.
“I’m undoubtedly excited to help out and unfold as loads consciousness as I can, nevertheless tonight truly merely keen concerning the draft,” Byfield said. “I’ve labored my full life for that and easily keen about that really correct now.”