Black Woman Makes NHL History as the First to Play Professional Hockey

Blake Bolden

Meet Blake Bolden, a native from Cleveland, Ohio, who has broken many barriers in achieving many firsts in the sport of women’s ice hockey. In 2016, she became the first African American woman to play in the National Women's Hockey League, a subsidiary of the NHL.
Bolden started at a young age where she played minor youth hockey for the Cleveland Barons and the Ohio Flames. She later went to Northwood School in Lake Placid, NY while also participating in the first U18 World Championship for team USA, winning Gold in both 2008 & 2009 tournaments. Blake then went to Boston College, earning Hockey East Defensive Player of the Year and All American Honors.

After graduating, she joined the Boston Blades of the CWHL (Canadian Women’s Hockey League), winning the Clarkson cup in 2015. In 2016, she played for the Boston Pride of the NWHL (National Women’s Hockey League) winning the inaugural Isobel Cup.

After two seasons and two All-Star appearances in the NWHL, she recorded 27 points in 20 games with HC Lugano in Switzerland in 2018.

Blake later returned to the NWHL to play for the Buffalo Beauts for her 6th season playing professional hockey. Dawned the Jackie Robinson of women’s hockey, she is the first Black player drafted in the first round of the CWHL and the first ever to compete in the NWHL.

In 2019, she reclaimed her hardest shot title in the NWHL All-Star Skills Competition and was awarded Defensive Player of the Year.

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