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This weekend, ‘Black Ice Invitational’ aims to grow hockey in inner-city Detroit

The Detroit News's Terry Foster reports that a former Flint Generals player is trying to build the game of hockey in the City of Detroit, and at Jack Adams Arena, African American hockey players will play in a tournament this weekend whose aim is to spread the belief that hockey truly is for everyone:

McCrimmon is a big proponent of inner-city hockey, having grown up in Detroit and played pro hockey overseas. And this weekend, he's showcasing the inaugural "Black Ice Invitational" at Jack Adams Arena and Clark Park on Detroit's southwest side. Games begin at 5:50 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday.

There are only four teams — from Columbus and Washington D.C., and two from Detroit — but McCrimmon is hoping to give the sport a boost in Detroit.

And he's made inroads. Black kids no longer look at him cross-eyed when he talks hockey. "I hope the (football) coaches are not mad at me," McCrimmon said. "(Some players we recruit) were mostly guys who played football and like to hit. Hockey is a sport where you get to hit."

McCrimmon, 29, is a retired hockey player, having spent time in Finland and with the Flint Generals, among other organizations. The first black player to captain a team in Finland, McCrimmon wants to make hockey a common word in the black community.

"It is more receptive now," said McCrimmon, who also works as a personal trainer, hockey instructor and heads the skate program for the Redford Parks and Recreation Department. "A lot of the kids can see I am just like them. It is not like I am unaware about what we go through in the inner city."

Still, McCrimmon understands there still are hurdles to overcome.

"We want to build this," he said. "I wanted to give back to the kids and give them something different to do. … We are still a brand new group and we are hungry."

It doesn't matter what you look like, where you were born, what ethnic, racial, religious, socioeconomic, gender or sexual orientation group you feel that you belong to, whether you're fit or fat or able-bodied or face physical or mental challenges, or whether you play hockey on ice or another surface you can find space to play upon. If you love hockey, that's all that matters.

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Comments

squirrely's avatar

“If you love hockey, that’s all that matters.”

Well said

Posted by squirrely from Dirty Jersey on 02/21/13 at 07:15 AM ET

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“black ice tournament” ? Great concept for inner city youth to play hockey. Not a fan of the racial connotation in the name of the event. You would never have an event called the “white ice tournament” keep race out of the discussion. And if by chance a non black youth living in the inner city wanted to play in the tournament, would they be turned away? Would they feel welcomed?

Posted by timbits on 02/21/13 at 09:35 AM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.