Detroiter Everett Fitzhugh Is 1st Black Team Broadcaster In NHL

WWJ News
August 11, 2020 - 2:35 pm

(WWJ) A Detroiter is making sports history.

Everett Fitzhugh, 31, is now the NHL's first Black full-time play-by-play announcer, after being hired by the league's brand new expansion team, the Seattle Kraken.

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"The whole experience was just such a surreal experience. I mean, honestly, if I told you how it happened, people would've said it's out of a Hollywood movie." 

In an interview with WWJ Newsradio 950's Dan Jenkins, Fitzhugh said his hockey fandom started early on.

"I got into hockey in the third grade, third or fourth grade, and my classmates all really enjoyed hockey and I wanted to fit in and find out more about it," he said. "So I went home, watched a Red Wings game. They were playing Edmonton, and they had two black players on the team."

As young Black kid, Fitzhugh couldn't help but notice there weren't too many Black people involved in the sport. 

"I was that kid growing up that didn't have a lot of role models in hockey to look up to. Not until it was later in life and later in my career when I finally meet a lot of folks who offered those words of encouragement around the industry." he said. "Obviously, my family and my friends have always been encouraging, but in the game it self, in the sport itself I didn't have that role model to look up to." 

And while it's not something he planned, Fitzhugh said he knows he will now be that role model. 

"I don't think you set out to really be the trailblazer," he added. "I think if you have an opportunity to inspire someone, I think if someone does look up to you, you can't help but run with it. I think you have an obligation to help educate and support and foster and nurture and mentor the people behind you." 

Fitzhugh acknowledged there could be some tension between the Kraken and his hometown team, the Red Wings, which is proud of its octopus traditions.

He said his family still lives in Detroit, and he still calls the city "home."

"When they unveiled the name, I said I don't think the folks in Detroit are gonna like this too much," Fitzhugh said, with a laugh. "It's going to be interesting the first time these two teams play — especially in Detroit, which I'm looking forward to, coming back home for the first time as sn NHL broadcaster."