‘SportsCenter’ Anchor Catches Heat For Mocking Indigenous NHL Player’s Last Name

Las Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Zach Whitecloud

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I don’t think it would be a huge stretch to describe hockey as a “glaringly Caucasian” sport, as you only need to take a quick look at the average NHL roster to determine the league isn’t exactly a hotbed of diversity.

There are a number of different factors that contribute to that objective reality.

White people make up the majority of the population of countries that produce the vast majority of NHL players. which also tend to boast a colder climate that can help lower the barrier to entry for a sport where the cost of equipment, rink time, and travel can serve as a serious hindrance to people hailing from historically underpriviledged communities.

The NHL (and hockey community as a whole) has taken a number of steps to attempt to address that issue, and while there’s still a lot of work to be done, there’s also been a fair amount of progress on that front.

In 2018, Golden Knights defenseman Zach Whitecloud became the first member of the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation to play in an NHL game after making his debut with Las Vegas, and he’s continued to be a solid contributor in his fourth season with the franchise.

On Monday night, Whitecloud netted his first goal of the current Stanley Cup Playoffs while contributing to the 5-1 stomping of the Oilers that gave Vegas a 2-1 lead in their series with Edmonton.

That contribution led to Whitecloud getting a few seconds in the spotlight on SportsCenter, but longtime anchor John Anderson ended up in a bit of hot water thanks to the wildly unforced error he committed by quipping “What kind of name is Whitecloud? Great name if you’re a toilet paper” while covering the highlight.

That understandably didn’t sit well with plenty of people who called out Anderson for disrespecting Whitecloud’s First Nations heritage.

It seems very likely Anderson wasn’t familiar with Whitecloud’s background, although ignorance isn’t exactly an excuse for a comment that probably should’ve just stayed in the mental drafts.