In honor of Black History Month, TheFHN will be featuring bios on all the black hockey players who have played in the NHL each day throughout the month.
Jamal Mayers was drafted 89th overall in the 4th round of the 1993 NHL Entry Draft by the St. Louis Blues. The most eventual moment of the draft for Mayers may not have been his name being called but that 2 hours prior, he had saved a kid’s life while sitting in his section. Prior to his name being called, a kid started choking on pizza and with Mayers performing the Heimlich maneuver the kid was able to cough up a chunk of cheese about the size of a baseball. You can read more on his draft day story here courtesy of Sportsnet.
Before joining the Blues, Mayers was a star player at Western Michigan University for 4 seasons scoring 159 points for the team. Once joining the NHL, Mayers would play 10 seasons for the Blues and also played for Canada in the 2007 IIHF World Championship that won the gold medal as well as the 2008 team that took home silver.
Prior to the NHL Entry Draft in 2008m, Mayer was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs where he would play 1 full season and be traded midway through the 2009-10 season in a blockbuster trade with the Calgary Flames. At the end of the season, Mayers signed as a free agent with the San Jose Sharks before joining the Chicago Blackhawks for the 2011-12 season.
In 2013, Mayers won the Stanley Cup as a member of the Blackhawks and retired from the NHL in December of that year. Mayers played in 915 NHL games, scoring 219 points (90G,129A). He is currently a studio analyst on NBC Sports Chicago and a community liaison with the Blackhawks. He also released a children’s book “Hockey IS For ME!”
Excited to announce the release of my 1st of many Children’s Book:— Jamal Mayers (@jamalmayers) February 19, 2020
Hockey IS For Me!
This is a story of Jamal when he was 6 years old and his journey toward the great game of hockey. You have to see it in order to believe it’s possible! https://t.co/72vIIR8g7Q pic.twitter.com/qcbqVyDJ07
Peter Worrell was drafted 166th overall in the 7th round of the 1995 NHL Entry Draft by the Florida Panthers. Worrell began his professional playing career with the New Haven Beast of the AHL during the 1997-98 season and made his NHL debut with the Panthers during that season. Worrell played in 19 games and averaged just over 8 penalty minutes per game over the stretch (153 total). During his career, Worrell established himself as a fierce enforcer racking up 1,554 penalty minutes over 391 games.
After 6 seasons with the Panthers, Worrell was traded in July of 2003 to the Colorado Avalanche where he play 49 games in his final NHL season. After the NHL lockout caused the loss of the 2004-05 season, Worrell attempted a comeback with the New York Rangers and their AHL affiliate Hartford Wolf Pack. After not appearing for either club he would finish his professional playing career with the ECHL affiliate Charlotte Checkers.
After playing, Worrell was head coach for Florida Atlantic University as well as coach for North Broward Preparatory School’s Varsity hockey team before becoming an assistant with the Fayetteville Marksmen of the SPHL in 2018. Currently Worrell is the hockey director of the IceDen in Coral Springs Florida where he oversees the youth and adult hockey programs at the facility.
Peter Worrell’s experience and history of racial incidents as well as others are documented in the 2004 book: Breaking the Ice: The Black Experience in Professional Hockey
Kevin Weekes was drafted 41st overall in the 2nd round of the 1993 NHL Entry Draft by the Florida Panthers. After finishing his junior career, Weekes joined the Panthers and played in 11 games for the team before being traded to the Vancouver Canucks in a trade that brought Pavel Bure to Florida. Midway through the 1999-2000 season, he was traded to the New York Islanders and then traded again at the end of the season to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Weekes would spend 1 full season with the Lightning before being traded in March of 2002 to the Carolina Hurricanes.
With the Hurricanes, Weekes found success as a backup to Arturs Irbe and appearing in 8 games during the 2002 Stanley Cup Playoffs helping the team reach the Stanley Cup Final and posting back to back shutouts during the run. The following 2 seasons, Weekes was the starting goaltender for the club before signing with the New York Rangers as a free agent. His tenure in New York started strong but was overshadowed by injury that saw the emergence of Henrik Lundqvist. After 2 seasons with the club he signed with the New Jersey Devils and finished his playing career officially retiring in September of 2009.
Weekes made history that same year as becoming the first black analyst in hockey. He is currently a fixture on NHL Network and works as a broadcaster and analyst as well as the owner of No5Hole clothing brand.
To read more of the bios for black NHL players, you can see all of the bios here