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|Posted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:00 pm Post subject: Art Dorrington, the first black professional hockey player in the US dies at 87
|REST IN PEACE
Art Dorrington, the first black professional hockey player in the United States, dies at 87 Rangers signee dubbed the ‘Jackie Robinson of hockey’
Art Dorrington, who signed with the New York Rangers organization in 1950 to become the first black professional hockey player in the United States, died on Dec. 29, 2017, in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Dorrington played for the Atlantic City Sea Gulls, Johnstown Jets, Washington Lions and Philadelphia Ramblers after moving around the Eastern Hockey League (EHL), Eastern Amateur Hockey League (EAHL) and International Hockey League (IHL). He was drafted into the Army in 1956 and spent 22 months overseas before briefly returning to hockey. A broken leg ended his career. He never got called up to the Rangers. The NHL wouldn’t see its first black player until Boston Bruins forward Willie O’Ree broke the color barrier in 1958.
Dorrington was born in Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada, and rose onto the Rangers’ radar thanks to his high-scoring ability. He signed his pro contract the same year the NBA welcomed its first black players. He tallied 163 goals and 157 assists in 345 EHL, EAHL and IHL games.
Dorrington was pegged as the “Jackie Robinson of hockey” on a trading card.
“He was a true champion. He had a major impact on this city,” Dorrington’s daughter, Judah, told The Press of Atlantic City.
Dorrington joined the Atlantic County Sheriff’s Office after retiring from hockey. In 1998, he and his wife founded a nonprofit program, Art Dorrington Ice Hockey Foundation, that provides low-income children the opportunity to learn life skills through hockey. For every hour the youths were on the ice, they spent an hour in the classroom. Dorrington’s mantra was “On the Ice – Off the Streets.” The Dorringtons’ foundation received the support of the NHL’s “Hockey is for Everyone.”
In 2012, Boardwalk Hall’s ice hockey rink was named after Dorrington, and three years later, Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian proclaimed March 15 as Art Dorrington Day.
“What he did for the community is second to none,” Stefan Rivard, a member of the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies East Coast Hockey League team from 2001-04, told The Press of Atlantic City. “Art’s thing was always to perform in the classroom and then sports were after that.”