Polson Park track and field meet, 1940. Larry ‘Laurie’ Kwong, representing Vernon High School (VHS) broke the tape in first place. Larry later went on to break the National Hockey League colour barrier when he became the first person of Asian ancestry to play in league with the New York Rangers in 1948. {Greater Vernon Museum and Archives #31122)

Vernon’s History in Pictures

Legendary Vernon hockey player Larry Kwong was fast off the ice as well

He made hockey history.

Vernon’s Larry Kwong became the first player of Asian ancestry to break the NHL’s colour barrier when he suited up for the New York Rangers in a game at the fabled Forum against the Montreal Canadiens in 1948.

Kwong, who helped the Vernon Hydrophones win a B.C. Juvenile Hockey Championship years prior, was also fast without skates, verified here by this wonderful Greater Vernon Museum and Archives photo.

The picture shows Kwong crossing the finish line in first place ahead of an opponent running in a dress shirt with his sleeves rolled up in a sprint race at Vernon’s Polson Park.

You can also make out the old grandstand, packed with spectators, as well as well-dressed patrons along the grandstand.

READ MORE: Hockey pioneer Kwong dies at 94

READ MORE: New York exposure for Kwong



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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Vernon’s Larry Kwong helped the Vernon Hydrophones win a B.C. Juvenile Hockey Championship before going on to become the first person of Asian ancestry to play in the National Hockey League in 1948 with the New York Rangers. (File photo)

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