Former Michigan State player Lord, one of first black college hockey players, passes away at 84

Update: The original version of this story cited the Globe and Mail in claiming that Richard Lord was the first black player in college hockey. That has been disputed.

Richard Lord, one of the first black college hockey players in 1950 when he suited up for Michigan State, passed away in his native Montreal on March 9 after a lengthy illness.

Lord was 84.

According to the Globe and Mail, Lord was the first black person to play varsity hockey in the United States. Other reports claim Lloyd St. J. Robinson played for Boston University starting in 1947.

After completing a degree at Michigan State in chemical engineering in 1953, Lord worked for Dominion Tar and Chemical Co. Ltd., the City of Montreal and the Immigration Appeal Board of Canada.

He married twice, the second time in 1995 to Carol Spence, and was deeply involved in Canadian politics.

After he retired, Lord remained active at St. George’s Anglican Church in Montreal, as well as Montreal’s Maison Cross Roads, the Canadian Bible Society of Montreal, the Royal Commonwealth Society, the Westmount High School Alumni Association and the Twenty Club, a Montreal debating society.

“The last meeting he was at was in January, but he was very feeble,” said Warren Allmand, a long-time friend and former federal Liberal Party cabinet minister, to the Globe and Mail. “He came to that meeting, but he needed somebody to help him get there and get home and he wasn’t very strong, but he was there.”

“He almost felt as if it was his duty to continue giving whatever he could for the benefit of the whole,” Spence added in the report. “He felt that he had to serve.”

In addition to his widow, Lord is survived by his sister, Gwen, his brother, Frederick, as well as nieces and nephews.