“First of all, they’re all in the NHL for a reason. They deserve to be here and have worked their tails off. To have them all together, they had a little chemistry. Moving forward in the league, you hope it isn’t a story anymore and will be the norm. It was a pretty cool moment for all those guys,” said Lightning head coach Jon Cooper, according to NHL.com’s William Douglas, the Bleacher Report notes.

Now, I’ll be first to tell you I don’t know shit about hockey, so I’ll let Bleacher Report provide details of the momentous night:

The Lightning lost Monday’s game 4-0, and the trio of Joseph, Smith and Walcott combined for two shots on goal and 11 hits. Walcott made his NHL debut in the contest and picked up a fighting major after battling Panthers defenseman Kevin Connauton.

While it was Walcott’s first NHL game, Joseph has now appeared in 56 games this season and 163 games over three seasons with the Lightning, and Smith has appeared in 88 career NHL games with the Dallas Stars, Boston Bruins and Lightning.

Douglas noted that while an all-Black line starting an NHL game had never happened before Monday, it has occurred at other levels of professional hockey. Most recently, the American Hockey League’s Ontario Reign—the Los Angeles Kings’ affiliate—started Quinton Byfield, Akil Thomas and Devante Smith-Pelly together on March 22.


Even though the Lightning took the L, the moment was a big win for Joseph, Smith and Walcott and for the culture. Now if only we could get LeBron on some hockey skates.