Skip to main content

Canada Post's Doug Ettinger, left and Craig Smith, president of The Black Cultural Society, unveil a stamp honouring the Colored Hockey Championship in Cherry Brook, N.S., on Jan. 23, 2020.

Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press

Canada Post unveiled a commemorative stamp Thursday that pays tribute to an all-black hockey league that once thrived in the Maritimes.

The stamp, unveiled at the Black Cultural Centre in Cherry Brook, N.S., tells the story of the Coloured Hockey League, which saw teams competing for the Coloured Hockey Championship between 1895 and the 1930s.

“It acknowledges a piece of African Nova Scotian and Canadian history that a lot of folks don’t know about,” said Craig Smith, president of the Black Cultural Society of Nova Scotia.

Story continues below advertisement

“These black men put this league together and played on ponds and in rinks after the white teams had played – and they weren’t allowed to play on any of the white teams.”

The league, founded 22 years before the National Hockey League, was established in Halifax among black Baptists who were eager to get young men to attend Sunday church services.

There was no game schedule. Matches were arranged through telegraphed challenges or by placing ads in local newspapers.

The games soon became community events that attracted both black and white fans.

The first team established was the Dartmouth Jubilees but others soon formed, including: the Africville Sea-Sides in Halifax; the Charlottetown West End Rangers; the Royals in Amherst, N.S.; and the Victorias in Truro, N.S.

Teams weren’t allowed into local arenas until after the white leagues were finished with their seasons. That meant the CHL’s seasons typically lasted from late January to early March, when natural ice surfaces became poor.

Still, the games were fast-paced and featured several innovations, including the invention of the slap shot – credited to Eddie Martin of the Halifax Eurekas in 1906.

Story continues below advertisement

As well, goalies in the league were among the first to use the butterfly style, which was later adapted by players in the “whites-only” leagues.

During the league’s golden era, between 1900 and 1905, the CHL’s games routinely attracted larger crowds than those organized for the white leagues.

The new stamp, available in booklets of 10, features an illustration based on a photograph showing the Halifax Eurekas, the Coloured Hockey Champions in 1904.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies