BettmanLeonsis

Bettman talks to Capitals owner Ted Leonsis during an event on Friday. (Photo credit: Chris Gordon)

Nearly 57 years ago, Willie O’Ree became the first black player in NHL. Today, society is different place — except when P.K. Subban plays in Boston.

“You don’t really notice it too much,” Capitals prospect Madison Bowey, who is black, said when I asked whether race was still an issue in hockey. “Everyone treats you the same. It’s not a big deal anymore; it’s a new generation.”

While race has come up as an issue for more broadly in America recently, it is becoming increasingly irrelevant in sports. Today, the Capitals and the NHL dedicated a refurbished street hockey rink in predominately black Southeast D.C.

Recently, though, questions have been raised how inclusive the NHL really is in other areas. Since August, three national hockey writers have been fired for making predatory advances towards female hockey fans online and via text message.

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This story was inevitable. Russia’s strict laws regarding gay people and the upcoming Sochi Olympics have put some of our favorite players in awkward position. Luckily, Alex Ovechkin acquitted himself perfectly well during media time on Monday. Pavel Datsyuk and Ilya Kovalchuk did not fare as well. This is going to get worse before it gets better.

Note: My opinion is my own and does not necessarily reflect all of RMNB.

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