For a late-winter afternoon in West Seattle, Alki Beach offers a quiet and breezy respite from the hustle and bustle of the downtown area which as the cityscape (and the presence of the Space Needle) shows is only a few miles away. The differences come as no surprise: the pace is slower, the sensibility is uncomplicated, outlook and livelihood directed by the adjacent waters of the Salish Sea (Puget Sound).
Perhaps it’s the latter what the indigenous Duwamish and Coast Salish people were pondering when a group of white settlers in the Denny party came ashore in November 1851. With his own group, Chief Seathl (siʔaɫ, Si’ahl, Sealth) of the Duwamish and Suquamish tribes arrived to meet the strangers from the sea. Today, a monument and various plaques around Alki Beach Park highlight how the Denny party attempted to start their new life in what is now West Seattle, before they pulled up stakes and moved the following April onto the high ground next to the muddy flats of what is now the Pioneer Square District.
In its place, the city might have once been called “New York Alki” by early white settlers, but eventually, the growing city would take the name of the indigenous chief. The intervening decades would see competing views of “place-stories” to fit future dreams and mourn the apparent loss of the “pristine past” without any acknowledgment of responsibility; both could and would be used to sell the image of the city.
I made the photo above on 6 March 2020 with a Fujifilm X70 fixed-lens prime and the following settings: 1/60-sec, f/11, ISO 800, and 18.5mm focal length (28mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-h9L.
When a city receives an expansion team, that immediately drives anticipation for a new pro sports presence and interest for an expected intraregional rivalry. It’s a perfect time for the professional sports league to come into town and speak to the city’s audience.
The new NHL Seattle ice hockey team will begin play in the 2021-2022 season, and regional bragging rights will begin immediately with an immediate regional rivalry with the Vancouver Canucks, not unlike the decades-old soccer rivalry between the Seattle Sounders and the Vancouver Whitecaps (which I first witnessed in the 1970s in the old original NASL).
But the following questions remain timely: For whom is ice hockey? What is the relationship between the sport and people of colour? What is the history of black people in professional hockey? I hope the following sheds a little bit of light on black hockey history.
NHL Black Hockey History Mobile Museum
In early 2020, a travelling museum exhibition highlighted how black Canadians, black Americans, and their respective communities have made important contributions to the winter sport of ice hockey at both amateur and professional levels. Presented in conjunction with the American Legacy Network, the NHL Black Hockey History mobile museum made its way throughout North America, stopping in 14 cities: Washington, DC; Detroit, MI; St. Louis, MO; Pittsburgh, PA; Ottawa, ON; Toronto, ON; Newark, NJ; Nashville, TN; Anaheim, CA; Los Angeles, CA; San Jose, CA; Portland, OR; Seattle, WA; and Tempe, AZ.
In a continuation of activities associated with Black History Month, Kim Davis, NHL executive vice president, wrote about what Black History Month meant to her, and what players of colour past and present have meant to the game of hockey (28 Feb 2020).