Sunday, December 27, 2009

"Life of Art" Dorrington from Atlantic City Weekly

Here's a brief article about Art Dorrington who was the Eastern Hockey League's leading goal scorer in it's first two seasons (1954-56) after reforming from the old EAHL. The article is by Lori Hoffman of Atlantic City Weekly and was posted February 10, 2005. The photo of Dorrington is from the New Haven Tomahawks of 1951-1952 EAHL.

"Life of Art

Ice hockey pioneer Art Dorrington signed a contract with the New York Rangers in 1950. As a member of the Atlantic City Sea Gulls, he became the first black professional hockey player in the United States. Dorrington is still making news, this time for his work with local youth through the Art Dorrington Ice Hockey Foundation, which provides free hockey equipment, instruction and educational programs for low-income youth. Dorrington retired from the Atlantic City Sheriff's Department in 1994. He rounded up the financing to start his youth program in 1998 with the motto, "On the ice, off the street." This past year he was inducted into the Atlantic City Hall of Fame. As part of the Atlantic City Free Public Library's salute to African-American History Month, on Saturday, Feb. 12 at 2pm, Dorrington will talk about his career and life. We spoke to him for a preview.
Q: When you signed with the Rangers, was the expectation that you would get a chance to play in the NHL?
A: Yes. I was supposed to stay in New York and play with the New York Rovers but they were on the road. The Rangers had an agreement with the Sea Gulls so I came here and played.
Q: You faced ethnic slurs. How did you handle it?
A: It didn't bother me too much because my teammates supported me [most were fellow Canadians shocked by the racism]. I didn't have problems in Atlantic City. It was when we went to Washington and Baltimore. Once we played in Troy, Ohio and they told me I couldn't stay at the hotel. The rest of the players walked out.
Q: After you were hurt and had to retire, why did you make Atlantic City your home?
A: I met a local girl and we got married [that would be his wife of 47 years, Dorothie, a retired teacher]. I liked the place and there were a lot of opportunities."
Q: What motivated you to create your foundation?
A: I was working at the rink on the Boardwalk and I didn't see any black kids. I asked why, and was told the equipment was too expensive. [Later] I was invited to a program, Ice Hockey in Harlem, and decided if they get black kids on the ice in Harlem, I can do it in Atlantic City."
-- Lori Hoffman"

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