Black women are hitting historic milestones in the realm of sports. Nearly two months after Jennifer King broke racial and gender barriers in the NFL, another woman will now bring her #BlackWomanMagic to the National Hockey League. According to the NHL, Blake Bolden recently made history by becoming the league’s first Black woman pro scout.
Bolden—a professional hockey player who grew up in Cleveland, Ohio—joined the Los Angeles Kings’ staff in February. Throughout her entire career, both on and off the ice, she has trailblazed paths to increase racial and gender representation in the sport. The Boston College alum became the first Black woman to compete in the National Women’s Hockey League in 2015. She has been dedicated to empowering women and girls of color to get involved in the sport through her work with a nonprofit organization dubbed Black Girl Hockey Club which focuses on making hockey more inclusive. In her new role, she will be instrumental in seeking new talent for the Los Angeles-based team.
Bolden—who credits the NHL’s first Black player Willie O’Ree as one of her inspirations—says she will continue to push conversations surrounding diversity and inclusion in the sport forward and hopes her journey inspires more women and people of color to pursue careers in hockey whether it be on the ice or in the front office. “I feel I was just luckily born at this time to where I could be a first of something and I’m just trying to carry the torch and just pass it on,” she said in a statement.
Bolden’s appointment comes at a time when there is a need for more diversity in the NHL. According to the Wall Street Journal, the league had only 50 non-white players during the 2018-19 season.