To celebrate Black History Month, Canada Post has unveiled a new stamp commemorating the Colored Hockey Championship and all-Black hockey teams that competed in the Maritimes during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Unbeknownst to many Canadian hockey fans, these teams organized and scheduled games in an effort to both dispell hurtful misconceptions, and to attract young Black men to the church.
Originally founded by Baptist Church leaders, games quickly became community events that were attended by Black and white audience members.
After the games, organizers put together post-game meals that helped unite young Black players from different communities.
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Rather than a set schedule, teams would challenge each other to games by telegraph or placing ads in local newspapers; the championship became known as the Colored Hockey Championship.
Additionally, goalies on some of these all-Black teams became some of the earliest recorded players to use the down-to-the-ice style—known today as the butterfly style—which was later adopted by goalies in professional leagues who had previously exclusively stood upright.
The stamp, designed by Lara Minja of Lime Design, features an illustration by Ron Dollekamp of a historical photograph of the Halifax Eurekas, the Colored Hockey Champions in 1904.