Paris brothers join historic celebration to honour Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes

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When John Paris returned to his home province of Nova Scotia this week, he wanted to catch up with his brother Percy and visit the Halifax Forum.

“There is always that special feeling knowing that I skated here,” said Paris.

On Saturday, the Paris brothers from Windsor, N.S., will serve as honorary head coaches for the Halifax Eurekas and Dartmouth Jubilees in a ceremonial rematch between two historic teams that played in the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes.

“Anyone who knows the history of Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes knows the Paris name runs through that league,” said Hockey Nova Scotia’s Dean Smith.

“So to have two of them at opposite benches this weekend is going to be an exciting weekend.”

Paris was the first-ever African-Canadian professional hockey coach.

“I was just following in the footsteps of others before me,” said Paris.

Coaching in this game on Saturday will allow both John and Percy to honour their families, those who played in Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes and all of their former teammates.

“My first reflection goes back to my years at Saint Mary’s and Bob Dawson and Darrell Maxwell,” said Percy. “With those two we formed the first and only all-black university hockey line. I think of them and the friendship that continues today between the three of us.”

Hockey Nova Scotia recently launched an online petition to have John Paris inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

“I think John Paris’s résumé speaks for itself,” said Smith. “He was the first black professional coach and first black coach in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.”

“It is not something ever expected because you don’t coach to be in the Hall of fame,” said Smith. “You are there to help and participate.”

Dean Smith said Hockey Nova Scotia is committed to recognizing the achievements of athletes from underrepresented communities.

“John Paris fits that bill perfectly,” said Smith.

Brothers John and Percy Paris will add another chapter to their hockey careers when they serve as head coaches for the Halifax Eurekas and Dartmouth Jubilees on Saturday night.

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