When the Los Angeles Kings hired Blake Bolden in February 2020, she became the first Black woman to be hired to a scouting position in the NHL and only the second woman ever to do so. That’s a lot of weight on her shoulders, but after listening to her on Top of Her Game, there’s no doubt in my mind that whatever Blake Bolden wants to do, she’s going to do it.
I don’t even want to say much about the video, because I want you to watch it that much. I think it’s that important.
Bolden talks with host Tara Slone about her life, how growing up in Ohio and going to IHL games (relatable!) is how she grew to love the sport of hockey. She talks frankly about being the only Black woman on her collegiate hockey team, about the heartbreak of not being named to the Olympic roster.
“With my presence, being able to show young Black girls that there are Black people that play hockey and Black strong women that can be there for you and pave that way, so you don’t have to feel like you’re so alone. Which I did a lot when I was growing up, feeling alone.”
Bolden has also been involved with Diversity and Inclusion efforts across major league sports. First, she serves as a Growth & Inclusion Specialist for the LA Kings, heading the Kings’ “The LA Kings Inclusion Initiative,” which is described as “a program designed to contribute to building equity in sports and within the front office, while helping to eradicate racism in and around the world of hockey.”
Bolden also represents the Kings as part of The Alliance, an 11-team initiative formed by professional sports teams in the Los Angeles area that includes a “five-year commitment to drive investment and impact for social justice through sport.”
Tucked into the conversation are smaller stories, like how Bolden met Luc Robitaille at a Black Girl Hockey Club event and how her mom taught her to stop on skates. Behind all of it is a passion for hockey, an incredible worth ethic and a new way of looking at the game that makes Bolden an undeniable asset for the Kings.
Watch the full video below. It’s less than 20 minutes and it’s worth it to her Blake in her own words:
News & Notes
- Blake Bolden representing L.A. Kings Inclusion Initiative to combat racism [Sportsnet]
- Why true change for hockey depends on listening to Black women [Sportsnet]
- 31 Thoughts: What’s next for Coyotes, Chayka after split? [Sportsnet]
- NHL Power Rankings: Stanley Cup-less veterans to root for [NBC Sports]
- NHL Bubble Wrap: Life during Return to Play; Updates on Crosby, others [NBC Sports]
- NHL return-to-play update: Game schedule, injury news, lingering ‘bubble’ questions [ESPN]
- NHL announces no positive coronavirus tests over last week [ESPN]
- Poulsbo family featured in Seattle Kraken teaser trailer [King5.com]
On the Schedule
- Pittsburgh Penguins at Philadelphia Flyers, 1 p.m. PT/4 p.m. ET on NBCSN
- Toronto Maple Leafs at Montreal Canadiens, 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET on NHLN, SN & TVAS
- Edmonton Oilers at Calgary Flames, 7:30 p.m. PT/10:30 p.m. ET on NHLN & SN