The Cincinnati Hockey Team Makes History With All-Black Starting Lineup

Source: Cincinnati Cyclones / ECHL

The Cincinnati Cyclones have etched their name in pro hockey history.

During their March 30 game against West Virginia’s Wheeling Nailers, Cincinnati made a groundbreaking move by fielding a starting lineup comprised entirely of Black players. It marked the first time in professional hockey history when a team deployed a forward and defensive unit consisting entirely of Black athletes.

Under the leadership of Cyclones’ head coach Jason Payne, one of the two Black head coaches of the ECHL, Black players Landon Cato, Elijah Gonsalves, Jalen Smereck, Kyle Bollers, and Josh Burnside took the ice as the starting lineup.

Throughout the game, the Cyclones showed off their athletic prowess and skills on the ice. According to WLWT, Smereck achieved a milestone for the Cyclones, setting a new record for points by a defenseman with 70, courtesy of an assist in the first period. Utilizing their strengths and combined talent, the team defeated Wheeling 3-2. 

History made in Cincinnati
The @CincyCyclones are the first team in the history of professional hockey to start with a lineup featuring five Black skaters!#ECHL

— FloHockey (@FloHockey) March 30, 2024

The Cyclones have a history of making strides in hockey diversity.

In 2021, Jason Payne, the team’s head coach, became the first Black head coach in the ECHL.

Payne is a member of the NHL Coaches Association BIPOC, an initiative to support coaches in several areas, including skills development, leadership strategies, and communication tactics. He also serves as the team’s Director of Hockey Operations and leads the Cincinnati Cyclones Foundation, where he helps to expand hockey at the youth level, according to a press release.

“We are going to remain committed to continuing our development both on and off the ice for our players and in the community,” Payne said at the time of his historic appointment. “As an organization, we are equally committed to continuing the growth of minor league hockey, as well as the overall growth of the sport in the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Area. From our fans, to our players, to our staff, this is a first-class organization and I will continue to treat it as such. I’m excited for what this season will bring for our team.”

In 2022, under Payne’s leadership, the Cyclones achieved another historic moment when they competed against the Kalamazoo Wings led by head coach Joel Martin, who is also Black. The match marked the first instance in ECHL history where two Black head coaches faced each other in a game. In 2022, Martin became the first Black head coach in K-Wings history to lead the hockey team. 

#ECHL History will be made this morning as two black head coaches will oppose each other for the first time with Joel Martin of @KalamazooWings & Jason Payne of @CincyCyclones

— ECHL (@ECHL) October 26, 2022


Dawn Staley Is A True Trailblazer In Basketball And Coaching

Cameron Sutton Arrested: Ex-Lions CB Turns Himself In Weeks After Domestic Abuse Warrant

The post The Cincinnati Hockey Team Makes History With All-Black Starting Lineup appeared first on NewsOne.

Help Stop Hate! Spread Love

Widely disseminated misinformation is extremely harmful and serves as a catalyst for hatred, violence and prejudice of every kind. This is counterproductive to the unification and strengthening of a nation. News outlets and journalists have a major responsibility to maintain a high degree of partiality and truthfulness that many Americans feel is not being honored. ADL, the Anti-Semitism Defense League is dedicated to offering impartial education on issues involving anti-Semitism to help Americans make informed decisions. A not-for-profit public service organization powered by Love, ADL provides free resources that educate society on anti-Semitism and ways to work together to combat the ancient hatred while promoting equality and prosperity for all people.

Free Download


Featured Articles

Breach of Contract and Conspiracy to Deprive of Civil Rights: An Evaluation of Potential Legal Claims and Criminal Charges Stemming from the Defamatory Social Lynching of Kyrie Irving

Basketball star Kyrie Irving captured the media’s attention when he faced allegations of anti-Semitism due to a social media post containing a link to the film, “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America.” Succumbing to external pressure, Irving removed the controversial post and offered a public apology. Nonetheless, upon further examination of the circumstances, it appears that Irving might have been criminally deprived of his rights, and could potentially possess a legal claim against his former employer for violating contractual terms.

Send Us A Message

News & Opinions