Soul on Ice, Episode #59

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What are you willing to do to reach the goals you’ve been dreaming of? Would you diligently study your craft to become the best at what you do? Would you be willing to leverage the connections you make to push your dream forward? If needed, would you sell your own house? My guest on this episode, Kwame Damon Mason has done all of that and more.

After a successful career as a radio personality, he began learning about the history of black players in the sport of hockey. Kwame felt it was necessary to highlight what black athletes had contributed to the sport of hockey and that’s when his dream took shape: He wanted to make a documentary film about the subject… and the drive took over, requiring many sacrifices along the way that he was glad to give.

All that work paid off. Kwame recently completed his first feature documentary film: Soul on Ice. It’s a film about the amazing contributions of black athletes in hockey. It won “Best Picture” at the 2015 Edmonton International Film Festival and recently had its television debut on the NHL Network. Join me for this fascinating conversation about hockey, diversity, and inclusion.

You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in…

  • Kwame’s path to creating his movie, podcast, and more [2:47]
  • After launching the film, the podcast carries on the mission [6:48]
  • The most ground-breaking moments in hockey featuring black players [10:45]
  • What inclusive actions taken by modern teams do for young black players [13:04]
  • How Kwame’s partnership with the NHL came about [17:55]
  • Kwame’s views on the road to diversity in the NHL [19:42]
  • What’s next for Kwame and the Soul on Ice podcast [31:39]
  • What Kwame did today that put him in the right mindset for success [33:19]

The Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes: An untold story

In the same way that players in the Negro League of Baseball contributed to the sport in significant, even landmark ways, the same is true of a little-known hockey league, The Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes. As an example, Kwame tells of a particular player, Eddie Martin, who was a baseball player in the summer and a hockey player in the winter. He got the idea that he could hit the puck using the same form he used swinging a baseball bat — and it was very effective. At the time they called it “the baseball shot” but today we know it as the “slap shot.” Stories like this are important, demonstrating how an overlooked group of people has made significant contributions to the sport, and will continue to do so.

Stories from the world of sports inspire youngsters to dream of greater possibilities

We are attracted to sports for the sake of the game in view, but also for the stories of the players. Do you recall who your sports heroes were during your childhood? Most of us had them. Kids attach themselves to those who have accomplished things they aspire to, emulating them on and off the field/ice. Kwame points out that when a black child sees a successful black hockey player, they are viewing someone on the ice who looks like them, which gives them the idea that they can do the same and perhaps, even more. Hockey teams are some of the game-changers in this area, and Kwame makes the point that some team has to be the first to include more black players. The Tampa Bay Lightning is a prime example of a modern-day team that is progressively moving forward in terms of diversity and inclusion. 

Partnering with the National Hockey League to grow awareness

When Kwame’s film was released, there was an obvious connection between the stories his movie told and the unfolding history that has culminated in today’s National Hockey League (an organization that has existed for over 100 years). But the most support he saw from the NHL at first was what he calls “a pat on the back” for his efforts, and he wasn’t content with that. He made connections with individuals at the NHL and essentially told them that he wasn’t going away. There was still a lot that needed to be done in terms of diversity… but even more so in terms of inclusion. In time, after he began the Soul on Ice podcast with some partners, the NHL reached out to them to bring their podcast under the NHL umbrella. This has benefitted the show and the “Soul on Ice” movement through greater means of promotion and exposure. The message is expanding and Kwame is looking to do even more to create awareness and instigate change in years to come. Join us for this conversation.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Soul on Ice

Guests on the Mitlin Money Mindset Show are not affiliated with CWM, LLC, and opinions expressed herein may not be representative of CWM, LLC. CWM, LLC is not responsible for the guest’s content linked on this site.

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