POTSDAM, N.Y. -- For those who have never heard of Don Seale, there's one surefire way people would describe him so you would easily understand.
"Don Seale reminded them of Jim Brown, the former Syracuse and Cleveland Browns star. Big, imposing, quiet but very strong and very intimidating," said Clarkson University Athletic Director Steve Yianoukos.
Don Seale, a Canadian, earned a scholarship to play hockey at the then-Clarkson College of Technology back in the 1950s.
A defenseman, he never lit up the scoresheet, but Don was a star.
"This was a very good player who won awards and played for some of the best teams in Clarkson history. The team from 1955-56 is known as one of the greatest Clarkson teams ever," said Watertown Daily Times Sports Editor Gregory Gay.
"Boy, he was tough. He was bigger than most. He was an athletic kind of guy. Of course he stood out because he was the only black player," said 1958 Clarkson graduate David Bulman.
For a long time, many thought he was the first African-American to play college hockey. We've since learned there was one or two before, but as one of the first he still was that pioneer. What made it special at Clarkson was that fact that it wasn't a big deal.
"I never heard anyone say anything about the fact that he's black or anything of the kind. He was just part of the team, part of the Clarkson team," said Bulman.
But in hockey, you have to go out on the road. That's when the color of Don's skin became not only a topic of discussion, but Don became a target.
"He went through a tough time. He couldn't eat in certain restaurants. He had to stay in certain hotels. He never complained about a thing," said Yianoukos.
Off-ice wasn’t the only issue Seale faced. His on-ice encounters could be best described through a 1954 Christmas tournament in Boston.
"Don Seale remembers it as somebody yelling at him from the stands, but some said players on the other team were saying things and there was actually a scrap and some players ended up getting kicked out of the game. I believe Don Seale was one of them," said Gay.
But Seale never took that frustration home.
That quiet, polite demeanor respected by most, especially his teammates, who not only had his back in the arena, but outside of it as well.
"If he couldn't go into a restaurant, they went somewhere else. If he couldn't stay in a hotel, the whole team stayed somewhere else. That's how much they liked him," said Yianoukos.
Don Seale's journey would eventually take him back to Canada where he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force, where he got to hit the ice once again.
Seale was quiet. He didn't promote himself. The sport he played wasn't baseball, and he may never get the recognition other black athletes of his time get.
But that's OK. Don Seale will never be forgotten at Clarskon.
"He remembers those times at Clarkson as some of the best times of his life. He really enjoys them and he goes back for reunions. Everybody gives him big hugs. He was a popular guy," said Gay.
"He was the Jackie Robinson of Clarkson Hockey," said Yianoukos.