Jordan Greenway set to become the first African-American to play for Team USA Hockey at Olympic Games Boston University standout is one of four collegiate players on the team
Jordan Greenway, a forward for Boston University and a 2015 second-round draft pick of the NHL’s Minnesota Wild, will be the first African-American to represent Team USA in hockey at the Winter Olympics.
Greenway made the cut this week as the U.S. announced its men’s and women’s rosters for next month’s Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The 20-year-old is one of four collegiate players who will represent the country.
Out of 1,690 men’s Division I college hockey players, only 13 have identified themselves as black.
“Even starting in 1960 when we had the amateurs playing in the Olympics and we were able to get the gold medal there, and then most recently in 1980, just being able to build on that legacy is an unbelievable feeling for me, and I’m happy I’m able to get this opportunity now,” Greenway told the Sporting News. “I’ve been able to accomplish a lot of good things and just allowing a lot of African-American kids who are younger than me who see kind of what I’m doing, I hope that can be an inspiration for them.
“Go out and do something different against the typical stereotypes that most African-Americans play basketball, or whatever the case is.”
Greenway’s selection was propelled by a stellar performance in the 2017 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship in Canada. Greenway had three goals and five assists in seven games for the gold medal-winning U.S. team. The 6-foot-5, 235-pound junior from Canton, New York, has amassed seven goals and 10 assists in 19 games with Boston University this season.
Years of self-determination led to this moment for Greenway. When he was 12, he went to his mother about going to a hockey prep school and getting out of Canton. She told him to research the top five programs and fill out the applications. As a family they would visit the schools, but Greenway’s mother told him he needed to take the lead on the process.
The deal she struck with Jordan and his brother, James, was that if she paid for prep school, they’d have to earn scholarships for college.
Jordan Greenway was teammates with Auston Matthews, Noah Hanifin, Zach Werenski, Matthew Tkachuk and Clayton Keller on the United States National Development Team Program in Ann Arbor, Michigan, after playing three years at Shattuck St-Mary’s School in Faribault, Minnesota, the top prep hockey program in the country.
James Greenway, who also went to Shattuck St-Mary’s, is a sophomore on the Wisconsin men’s hockey team and a 2016 third-round draft pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“There’s like one Walmart, and that’s where you get your food or whatever the hell you need for your house,” Jordan Greenway said of his hometown, where only 4.7 percent of the population is black. “It’s cold as hell. There’s a lot of farmland, so a lot of people hunt, and everyone plays hockey. That’s how I got into it.”
For the first time in 30 years, the NHL won’t send any of its players to the Olympics, so the U.S. roster is mainly composed of overseas, minor league and retired talent.