James, 45, is the first Black woman voted into the hall and the second Black player ever to receive the honor. She joins Grant Fuhr, a Black five-time Stanley Cup-winning goaltender with the Edmonton Oilers, who entered the Hall in 2003. She will be formally inducted into the Hall, located in Toronto, in November.
“On behalf of everyone in women’s hockey, I am truly honored,” James said. “As a kid, I went to the Hall and was in awe of those who had been inducted. I am delighted to be able to join them.”
In all, James was a medalist in 12 national championships and won four world championships. She was named MVP at eight Canadian championships, scored 34 points in 20 games over the first four world championships in 1990, 1992, 1994 and 1997. She is the only Black Canadian to captain her country’s national hockey team.
“Back in the days when we wore pink uniforms, we did what it took to get our game on the map,” James told the Canadian Press. “We didn’t care if we were wearing polka-dots, we just wanted to play.”For all her goals, medals, and awards, James never played in the Winter Olympics. In a controversial move, she was left off the women’s hockey team.
“I don’t look at this as retribution,” James told The New York Times of her induction and the 1998 Olympic slight. “I look at this as a great day for women’s hockey.”Her Olympic exclusion – which many said was like keeping legendary New York Rangers team Captain Mark Messier of the Canadian men’s Olympic hockey team – didn’t stop the accolades from coming.
She received Hockey Canada’s Female Breakthrough Award in 2005, was inducted into the Black Hockey and Sports Hall of Fame and the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 2006.
Two years later, she, Cammi Granato, and Geraldine Heaney became the first women inducted into the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame. Last year, James was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.
I encourage all villagers to take a moment to share some love with Hockey Hall of Famer Angela James for being such a remarkable athlete!