Sports Pioneers

Our Sports Pioneers are Athletes who Blazed the Trail in their Sport

     

Henry Boucha

Very active in affairs of the Ojibwa Nation and for all First Nations peoples across Canada and the United States

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Michael "Pinball" Clemons

The first Black Head Coach in Pro Football history to win his league's Championship. Our most sought-after speaker, Pinball is a Canadian icon, not only for his football skills, but for his positive and inspiration views on life

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Kelsee Devoreaux

One of the first African-American stuntwomen in Hollywood. A 5'0" tall, 98 lb. dynamo who crashes cars into brick walls, dives off buildings & gets set on fire, all for our entertainment at the movies and on television

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Chuck Ealey

CFL quaterback and Grey Cup MVP was undefeated as a starting quarterback during his U.S. college football career. Yet as a Black QB, he couldn't make the NFL

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Sean Gibson

Great-grandson of Negro Leaguer and Baseball Hall of Famer, Josh Gibson. Sean is a leading expert on Negro League history

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Mamie "Peanut" Johnson

Mamie was one of three women to play in the Negro Leagues along with Connie Morgan and Toni Stone.  Johnson played professional baseball for three seasons, from 1953 to 1955, with the Indianapolis Clowns.

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Stan Jonathan

Full-blooded Mohawk player for the Boston Bruins

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Mike Marson

The second African-Canadian to ever play in the NHL when he suited up for the Washington Capitals in 1974

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Henry Mason

Pitched in the Negro Leagues for the great Kansas City Monarchs and also in the majors with the Phillies

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Tony McKegney

His total of 78 points in one season would remain the highest ever recorded by a Black player until Jarome Iginla’s breakout 2001-2002 campaign

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Gene Mingo

The first black field goal kicker in professional football in the United States, and was a very versatile football player, playing several positions including halfback, kicker, and kickoff/punt returner

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Bob Motley

A rare historical figure at best. He is a living legend, the only living umpire from the historic Negro Baseball Leagues

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Jim Neilson

Jim came from a personal background that would indicate that all odds were against him becoming an NHL star defenseman. Jim was born to a Danish father and a Cree mother who parted and Jim was raised in an orphanage

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Willie O'Ree

The first Black hockey player in NHL history

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Christian Okoye

Known as “The Nigerian Nightmare” for his punishing running style. the Nigerian-born and raised player was named Running Back of the Year and First Team All Pro in 1989

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Bill Riley

The third Black player in NHL history. Established himself as an NHL regular using his grit, fists and talent to carve out a niche for himself

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Jim Robinson

Jim Robinson played in the Negro Leagues' East-West All Star Game in 1957 and 1958 as a second baseman for the Kansas City Monarchs

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Fred Sasakamoose

While his NHL career lasted only 11 games, Fred’s impact on the game, and on his community, was impactful. Fred was the first full-blooded Native to play in the NHL in 1953-54. He played his 11 games with the Chicago Blackhawks

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Pedro Sierra

Pedro left his native Cuba at age 16 to come to America to play in the Negro Leagues with the Indianapolis Clowns.  It was with the Clowns in 1954 that Pedro played for Hall of Fame legend Oscar Charleston.

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Ron Teasley

A Negro League outfielder for the Detroit Cubs, Toledo Cubs, Toledo Crawfords, Toledo Rays, Detroit Wolves and New York Cubans from 1939 to 1948. Signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1948 and then signed with the New York Cubans

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Bob Watson

Baseball's first Black Assistant General Manger, following in the trail-blazing footsteps of Jackie Robinson and Frank Robinson

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