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Thomas, Byfield and Smith-Pelly are the first all-black line of professional hockey since the 1940s




The AHL’s Ontario Reign made history early in their Sunday night game, and then young Akil Thomas made a little bit of shutting it down.

Heading into Sunday’s meeting with the Bakersfield Condors, the Los Angeles Kings’ Reign AHL affiliate sent a line-up with Thomas, recent runner-up Quinton Byfield and former Stanley Cup champion Devante Smith-Pelly.

Not only a glimpse into LA’s promising future, the trio also marked the first time since the late 1940s that professional hockey saw three black players line up together, according to the teamThe last copy came during the 1948-1949 season when Herb Carnegie, Ozzie Carnegie and Manny McIntyre played the same line for Sherbrooke, reunited after initially joining forces in the early 1940s.

Byfield struck early for the Reign, extending a dominant piece that saw him knock well in four consecutive games.

But it was late in the tilt that the line really shone, when Thomas put the club on his shoulders, scoring three straight goals to erase a 4-1 deficit, and a shootout score for good measure to finish the game. comeback victory.

It was Thomas’s first hat-trick in professional career, with all three goals coming in the space of just two minutes and 43 seconds.

Byfield and Thomas have already played with highlights a few times during the start of their first season together, most notably in the opening month of the campaign, when the duo caused a stir with a dazzling one-off between-the-legs:

The club added Smith-Pelly to the roster earlier this month, signing the former champion to return to North America after playing the 2019/20 season with the KHL’s Kunlun Red Star.

With Byfield scoring both the first goal of the game and an assist, and Smith-Pelly earning an assist on Thomas’s third goal, the trio finished the evening with a combined six points.

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