Hat Tricks Make History, First Pro Hockey Team to Have All-Black Starting Lineup

by Danbury Hat Tricks

DANBURY — The Danbury Hat Tricks became the first team in professional hockey history to have an all-Black starting lineup (3 forwards, 2 defensemen, and 1 goaltender) in Friday night’s home game against Binghamton.

“It is truly a historic moment created by six remarkable people and their own journeys that allowed them to be here today,” Hat Tricks Head Coach and General Manager Billy McCreary said. “I could talk for days about the leadership qualities in all of these men.”

The six starting players:

D Xavier Abdella

“Xavier Abdella is tremendous person for our community and a key part of our championship success on the ice last season.”

D Steve Brown

“Steve Brown has been a part of Danbury hockey for over a decade now. As a player, coach and defending champion, I am not sure there is anyone who has committed themselves more to Danbury hockey than Steve Brown.”

F Chase Harwell

“Chase Harwell is a CT product that gives his time away from the Hat Tricks to coaching youth hockey here locally.”

F Jhuwon Davis

F Kolby Johnson

G Talor Joseph

“Harwell, Kolby Johnson, Taylor Joseph, and Jhuwon Davis have been huge additions to our family this season and have been prime examples of how to lead in the community, and on the ice. It is an honor to know and work with these guys every day, but especially this day, we cherish the fact that they are leaders of our family.”

The historic lineup decision follows a notable precedent set by the Cincinnati Cyclones of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) on March 30, 2024. The Cyclones started five Black players (3 forwards and 2 defensemen) becoming the first known pro team to have five players of color begin a game.

“This is a historic moment, one that is unbelievable to be a part of here in Danbury,” Hat Tricks President Herm Sorcher said. “We are beyond proud of our players and their commitment to growing the game of hockey.”

"It is a great day for hockey and a great day in Danbury Hockey history," former Danbury Whaler and Black hockey player Jason McCrimmon said. "The players are true testimonials of growth in the game."

McCrimmon was granted the Willie O'Ree Award in July of 2023. The award is given to an individual who displays exemplary efforts to the community and give-back to the game. The honor is named after Willie O’Ree, who became the NHL’s first Black player when he debuted with the Boston Bruins against the Montreal Canadiens on Jan. 18, 1958. O’Ree presented the annual award to McCrimmon.

The Hat Tricks are facing off with the Binghamton Black Bears right now! You can watch the game on YouTube or follow along on social media.

The Hat Tricks are in the playoffs and we want you to be a part of our cup defense! Playoff tickets are on sale now! Secure a comprehensive playoff ticket package for just $66 or go game-by-game with our single-game ticket option! Click here for more information or call Herm Sorcher at (973) 713-7547 to secure your tickets today! Don't miss the excitement of the playoffs—get your tickets now and join us in supporting the Danbury Hat Tricks!

To stay up to date on all things Danbury Hat Tricks hockey, go to www.danburyhattricks.com.