From the moment Blake Bolden took to the ice at 7 years old and fell in love with skating and the creativity of hockey, she has repeatedly proved people wrong.
For years, she was the only girl on a triple-A boys’ team in her hometown of Cleveland and one of two girls in the league. She also was conscious of being black in an overwhelmingly white sport, though she saw that as incidental. She wanted to stand out because she was good — and she was.
“My teammates were super respectful. I just had to earn their trust and show my skills so they could trust me on the ice,” she said. “After that, I think it was smooth sailing with them. Other teams, mmm, not so much, especially when you’ve got a girl beating up on them. It turned out sometimes pretty nasty but I grew out of it.”
She excelled for four years at Boston College and was the team’s captain as a senior, the same season she was chosen the Hockey East conference defenseman of the year. She went on to win a championship in the now-defunct Canadian Women’s Hockey League, where she was the league’s first American-born black player.
In 2017, Bolden moved to San Diego, where she coaches teams in the San Diego Junior Gulls’ girls’ hockey programs. She continued her career by spending a season in Switzerland and earned a championship in the…