Jason Payne Becomes The Only Current Black Hockey Professional Head Coach in North America

Jason Payne has been hired by the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones, making him the only Black head coach in North American professional hockey next season.

Payne, 45, was promoted from assistant coach after Cyclones head coach Matt Thomas was hired by the Providence Bruins of the AHL. Payne, who grew up in Toronto, had a 14-year pro career as a player, making it as far as the AHL.

Payne said “there weren’t many Black coaches as I was coming up, but when there were, you took notice.” Payne hopes his hiring will help inspire others.

“It’s important for younger players to see familiar faces, saying, ‘Yeah, maybe I can be the guy behind the bench, maybe I can be someone in hockey operations, maybe I can be a video coach,'” Payne told ESPN. “The more you see the faces the more it sheds light on the opportunities that are possible.”

LINK: https://www.espn.com/nhl/story/_/id/32120030/echl-cincinnati-cyclones-hire-jason-payne-becomes-only-current-black-head-coach-north-american-professional-hockey

Huge news out of the coast that Jason Payne has become the head coach of the Cincinnati Cyclones. Hockey is the one sport that most take issue with how the grow the game and I’d agree. But do you know what’s cool? Having guys like Kevin Weekes crush it at their job and provide fun analysis to people who either love the game or are new to it or even watching young players like K’Andre Miller and Quinton Byfield develop into bonfide studs for their respective teams.

Now we get to watch Jason Payne behind the helm of the Cincinnati Cyclones. In the past we’ve seen players of color rip it up in the league, whether it be Grant Fuhr, Jarome Iginla or PK Subban, just to name a few. What we haven’t seen was a black head coach, not since Dirk Graham in the late 90’s.

“It’s important for younger players to see familiar faces, saying, ‘Yeah, maybe I can be the guy behind the bench, maybe I can be someone in hockey operations, maybe I can be a video coach,'” Payne told ESPN. “The more you see the faces the more it sheds light on the opportunities that are possible.”

That is what stuck out to me. Hopefully one day Jason will be behind the bench of an NHL hockey team and there will be a plethora of other coaches coming up the pipeline. It’s crazy how something like this can be so incredibly impactful. Now, it’s just time to wait and see. 

Author: Ked

1st line thoughts with a 4th line heart. Hope you guys enjoy the site and let us know what we can do to make it better. ALWAYS remember-- When in doubt, glass and out.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s