Who was the first Chinese hockey player in the NHL? Tom Hawthorn tells the story.

Ever watch the Tim Horton hockey dad commercial featuring a Chinese Canadian grandpa telling his son that he did pay attention? 

When I first spoke with actor Russell  Jung, I asked him “Who was the first Chinese hockey player in the NHL?”

“Larry Kwong,” answered Russell.

Read my 2006 story about my the Tim Horton's hockey dad commercial with a comment by actor Russell Jung http://www.gunghaggisfatchoy.com/blog/_archives/2006/2/17/1769127.html

Kwong played in the 1947 NHL season – 11 years before Willie O'Ree became the first black player in the NHL.  Long before Paul Kariya became the first Asian hockey star player.

The Asian North America Timeline Project lists this under 1947:

During the 1947-48 season, Larry ('King') Kwong is the first Chinese Canadian to play in the NHL as a member of the New York Rangers Hockey Club.  Also known as the 'China Clipper' during an illustrious juniors and seniors hockey career in B.C., Kwong went on to become Assistant Captain of the Valleyfield Braves in the Quebec Senior Hockey League where he led the team to a Canadian Senior Championship and received the Byng of Vimy award for sportsmanship.  Kwong later accepted an offer to play hockey in England and coach in Lausanne, Switzerland.  He would spend the next 15 years in Europe as a hockey and tennis coach.  In 1972, Kwong returned to Canada and is now the President of Food Vale in Calgary.

Last month Tom Hawthorn wrote an incredible story in the Globe and Mail about the Vernon BC, born Larry Kwong.

Check out Tom's story on his blog “One Minute to Make History”

Then check out his writing buddy Terry Glavin's blog, about Tom's story. 

The Story of Larry Kwong: Bellhop, Shipyard Worker, Grocer, Hockey Player, Hero.  Terry even throws in a mention about Gung Haggis Fat Choy and Toddish McWong.

I emailed Tom Hawthorn asking for Larry Kwong's contact information, because Russell Jung wanted to meet him.  Tom obliged and wrote back to me:

Good to hear from you.  I wrote a story about you and Gung Haggis Fat Choy many, many years ago in the Province.  Glad to see you've spread it around the globe.

I sent back a link to Tom, showing that a Feb 7 wire service story by Deborah Jones was printed in the Brunei Times:  'Gung Haggis' bridging the ethnic gap

Small world, isn't it?

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