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Tampa Bay Lightning start all-Black forward line

"For the general public, I think it's huge," said Anson Carter to NHL.com.
Credit: AP Photo/Mary Holt
Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Mathieu Joseph (7) skates with the puck during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Florida Panthers on Saturday, May 8, 2021, in Sunrise, Fla. The Panthers won 5-1.

SUNRISE, Fla. — Three Black players started on the same forward line Monday night for the Tampa Bay Lightning, a moment one hockey analyst called "huge" for the sport.

Mathieu Joseph, Gemel Smith and Daniel Walcott hit the ice at the BB&T Center against the Florida Panthers.

"For the general public, I think it's huge," said Anson Carter to NHL.com. He is a Black hockey analyst for NBC Sports and a former forward. "Not only are they playing for the team, but the defending Stanley Cup champs. So, this isn't a team that's not in the playoffs, that's rebuilding, that's struggling. 

"These are three Black players that are playing for the Stanley Cup champions."

According to the NHL, the 24-year-old Joseph has scored 19 points with the Lightning this season. Smith, 27, played his fifth game this season and has accumulated three assists.

Walcott, 27, made his debut with the Lightning Monday after being selected by the New York Rangers in the 2014 NHL Draft before being acquired the following year by the Lightning, the NHL says.

The team has two black coaches, as well.

"All-Black lines have been extremely rare in professional hockey since brothers Herb and Ozzie Carnegie and Manny McIntyre skated on the first documented line for Sherbrooke in the Quebec Senior Hockey League in 1948-49," NHL.com reports. "They had played together before in the early 1940s."

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