Canadian of Chinese origin to play in NHL

The very 1st Canadian of Chinese origin to play in an National Hockey League match will be inducted in the Hall of Fame of B.C. Sports in Pioneer Category, sixty five years after hanging up his skates for New York Rangers.

Larry Kwong was born in Vernon and he played competitory hockey matches across the whole province, gaining honors for his skill as centre-man at a young age. He also led the Vernon midget team to provincial championship when he was just sixteen years old.

In the year 1948, as the scorer for the New York Rovers, Larry was called by New York Rangers. It was called as a publicity stunt by the professional team.

On 13th March, 1948, Larry got his opportunity to play 1 shift late in the 3rd period in a match against Montreal Canadiens at Montreal Forum. In that match, he sported the number 11 jersey. That 1 shift also meant Larry was the very first person belonging to the Asian heritage, to play in the National Hockey League. Willie Eldon O'Ree was the very first black player to play in the National Hockey League in 1958 for Boston Bruins.

Larry’s National Hockey League career was very short lived. Almost immediately after that match, he was he was sent to his minor league hockey team. He never came back in NHL again, even though he was consistently linked with a return.

Larry thinks that he never got a chance because of his Canadian Chinese heritage. He told that it was really frustrating for him.