Sunday, February 3, 2019
Larry Kwong (Vernon, BC) only played one (1) shift in the National Hockey League (NHL), but that was enough. That one (1) shift made Larry the first person of colour to play a game in the NHL.
Larry was a first generation Canadian, his parents were from China, and his ethnicity barred him from working for the local smelter while he was playing hockey for the Trail Smoke Eaters. Larry started his professional career for the New York Rovers, the New York Rangers farm team, before his call up to the NHL.
Despite his very short lived career in the NHL, Larry’s hockey career lasted 13 years, from 1946 until 1959. After he was done playing for the Rangers farm team, he headed to Quebec and played eight (8) seasons there, seven (7) of them with the Valleyfield Braves.
Hockey didn’t just keep Larry in North America, his last two (2) seasons playing pro hockey were overseas. He played a season in Britain, notching 79 points in 55 games, and played out his final season in Switzerland, before moving back to Canada.
Larry lived in Calgary and owned a grocery store with his brother until his passing in 2018.