by Kim Horrocks
Although it initially started out as a recreational league between congregations, according to hockey historian and Black Ice co-author George Fosty, the league’s popularity quickly helped it evolve into Canada’s first professional hockey league -- years before the NHL came on the scene.The secret history of hockey. The stuff that for whatever reason many just don't want you to know.
“We consider it to be the first professional league because it was the first to pay its players from ticket sales, and all the players had free agency,” explains Fosty.
“The fact that references to this league have been eliminated from most historical records goes to show that Canadian history has been bleached; there’s no real mention of minorities and their contributions to the game.” [...]
“People assume that the NHL is hockey. The NHL is just one aspect of hockey, one league and when you’re talking about thousands of leagues whose history has never been written, then how can you know what the hell hockey is?”
Other contributions to the evolution of the game that Fosty suggests can be traced back to the Colored Hockey League include the slapshot and a revolutionary goalie style, unheard of at the time, that had netminders going down on their knees to stop shots -- a technique now commonplace in the modern game.