The NHL annually celebrates diversity with the campaign “Hockey is for Everyone”, because at one time it wasn’t.
Before Willie O’Ree, there was Herb Carnegie.
The racial barrier that O’Ree was able to penetrate in 1958 when he became the first black player to play in the NHL, was the same one that kept Carnegie from ever reaching that goal.
Born in Toronto, Ontario in 1919, he was a dynamo on the ice, and an equally positive force off of it.
After retiring from an impressive semi-pro hockey career in the early 1950’s, he founded the Future Aces Hockey School and eventually the Herbert H. Carnegie Future Aces Foundation which has been providing post-secondary scholarships to students since 1989. Carnegie was also successful in business as a financial advisor, and received the Order of Canada, but the slight of never being able to achieve his dream of playing in the NHL never left him.
In 1997, he released his autobiography, A Fly in a Pail of Milk: The Herb Carnegie Story (Mosaic Press) with Robert Payne, now the book is being re-released (ECW Press) seven years after his death with a large section written by his daughter Bernice. She fills in blanks, adds her own story and also that of the Carnegie family as it relates to her father’s lasting legacy.
Listen as we converse with Bernice about what is new, and what remains the same.