Val James is the first African American hockey player to make it to the National Hockey League.
On the road to the NHL, James played 2 seasons with the Midland Flyers in the old Central Ontario Junior B League that featured the Newmarket Redmen, Orillia Travelways, Barrie Colts, Collingwood Blues and the Owen Sound Greys.
As a 13 year old, Fred Wallace spent endless Friday nights at the old Midland Arena Gardens watching the Flyers play which is where he first saw Val James play.
( Of note, I'm quite certain the picture of Val in his Flyers uniform was taken by my father who was the unofficial photographer of Midland Hockey at every level ).
More than 40 years later, James authored the book " Black Ice " and he spoke to Fred Wallace about the book, his life in hockey and how, as an American, he landed in Midland, Ontario