LOS ANGELES — One year ago, Willie O'Ree, the first Black player in the NHL, dropped the ceremonial puck at Staples Center with Blake Bolden, a scout for the Los Angeles Kings. She's the first Black scout and the only Black female scout in the league.

 "I had to do some breathing exercises and have a power stance before I walked into the room full of men, and just be, 'Look, you know what? You've got this. You know this game," Bolden said.

What You Need To Know

  • Blake Bolden joined the Los Angeles Kings as a scout in 2020

  • Bolden is the first and only Black female scout in the NHL

  • She is also the first Black player in professional women's hockey history

  • Some Kings players wore her name on the back of their jerseys to celebrate Black History Month


"[As] someone who's been playing hockey for 20 years, I knew a little something about hockey."

Bolden's historic interview with the Kings wasn't the first time she stood out. As a child in youth hockey, she often was the only Black kid on the ice. She was picked on and even called the N-word. It was her mother who told her she could either feel sorry for herself or respond.

"Playing boys hockey, you can hit, right? So, I chose to respond using my physicality," Bolden explained. "I chose to respond scoring goals. I chose to respond winning." 

She helped Team USA win gold at the under 18 world championships in 2008 and 2009. 

She's even been called the Jackie Robinson of professional women's hockey. 

The Kings honored their trailblazing scout by recently wearing Bolden's name on the back of players' warmup jerseys. Those jerseys will be sold, with part of the proceeds supporting the Black Girl Hockey club. It's the organization that helped connect Bolden with team President Luc Robitaille.


"The first time I ever went in Staples Center, I see Luc Robitaille, and I'm like 'Oh my God," Bolden said. "He asked me if I ever thought about being a scout." 

The rest is history with Bolden's place in hockey lore and the Kings. She's already focused on doing more to make the game more diverse. 

"We want to see our population depict the fanbase," she said. "That is the goal."

 So, as she looks for talent to help the Kings get back on top, she will also be doing her part to make the game welcoming to fans and players of all races and genders.