Parents' Guide to

Soul on Ice: Past, Present and Future

By Alistair Lawrence, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Ice hockey documentary has diversity, role models, racism.

Movie NR 2015 86 minutes
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A brief but detailed overview of the history of Black ice hockey players in North America, this is a well-crafted documentary that also transmits its makers' love of the sport. From trailblazing veterans of the NHL such as Willie O'Ree and Val James, to young draft hopeful Jaden Lindo, Soul on Ice: Past, Present and Future has a variety of intergenerational voices who show us how times have changed for the better. Equally impressive are the unsung heroes working to improve the sport's diversity and inclusion, who work to overcome barriers such as cost and access to learning how to skate and how to play.

Jaden's story gives the documentary a natural through-line. But before that there's a concerted effort to tell the history not just of Black hockey players but also Black immigration to Canada in particular. The early examples of Black sporting excellence are relatively obscure but unsurprising. Sadly, so is the persecution they received. From not being selected because of the color of their skin to being offered pay cuts to progress their career, Soul on Ice: Past, Present and Future does a good job of showing how far we've come, but also how some startling examples of racism from hockey crowds -- including death threats -- persisted well into the 1980s. Whether you're an expert, a casual hockey fan, or just an interested onlooker, there's likely something here for you to enjoy, learn from, and celebrate.

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