Blake Bolden just made history as the National Hockey Leagues’ first and only Black female scout!
Yahoo! Sports reports that Bolden just made her transition to the league’s business side and is the second woman and first Black woman scout in the NHL.
Kim Davis, executive vice president for growth initiative, legislative affairs, and social impact at the NHL has been leading the way in the league’s effort to push for more diversity.
Formerly serving as a defender for the Boston Pride of the NWHL, Bolden was a successful hockey player before her deal with the Los Angeles Kings as an NHL scout back in January.
“I’d never thought about scouting,” Bolden tells Yahoo! Sports. “ I was at the Kings facility because I was a special guest for the Black Girl Hockey Club, and the Kings wanted to talk to me about women’s hockey, and I think [they] wanted someone for the role of an AHL scout, and [they] asked if I was interested.”
Following an extensive process, the 29-year-old began her scouting journey with local AHL games where she focused on tracking potential prospects over the course of an entire season. Bolden, however, had to readjust and re-imagine her new role when the pandemic took the world by storm placing a pause on everything. From here, she shifted to scouting NHL games.
“I’ve never scouted NHL teams yet. It’s quite different,” shares Bolden. “We’re looking at players from Tampa Bay and Dallas and Vegas and seeing how talented everyone is. For me, it’s been a lot of learning, just like every scouting experience. How they see a play in comparison to what I’m seeing, and it’s all pretty exciting.”
Although there’s been a shift in the way sports are played, Bolden reveals that this new way of scouting for her is not unheard of. Many scouts have been able to successfully do their job without being on location. Bolden expressed that although she misses the excitement of live-action sports, there are advantages like the ability to rewind a play and hone in on particular skills — something that wouldn’t be possible face-to-face.
“It’s a different energy watching from home. Sometimes you feel like you’re a spectator relaxing at home and realize, ‘I have to scout thee players,’” Bolden said, according to Because of Them We Can. “It’s an adjustment, different from going to a game, feeling the energy. This particular NHL playoffs are different from anything; there’s no factors for home and away players. You kind of don’t even notice; everyone is still playing like it’s playoff hockey.”
We love to see Black women dominating in the sports industry!