Larry “King” Kwong, the first hockey player of Asian descent to play in an NHL game, passed away peacefully at 94, the New York Rangers confirmed.
Kwong played right wing for a shift with the Rangers during a game against the Montreal Canadiens on March 13, 1948.
Kwong was born in Vernon, Canada on June 17, 1923. He was a star hockey player for the Vernon Hydrophones and won the championship with the team in 1939 and 1941. The BC Sports Hall of Fame inducted Kwong in 2013.
In 1944, Kwong was drafted into the Canadian Army. After the war, he played for the Smoke Eaters team in Trail, Canada.
He later joined the New York Rovers, a farm team for the Rangers, in 1946 and led the team in scoring for the 1947-1948 season. He was called up to play for the Rangers in 1948.
After his time with the Rangers, he went on to play in Quebec as well as Europe.
Kwong was hailed as a sports hero for many Asian Canadians as well as Asian Americans. “They were amazed he was playing a game they were not supposed to play,” said historian and filmmaker, Chester Sit. “It shifted their perception of what was possible.”
Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family as they mourn his passing…