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Buffalo Sabres, Highmark Blue Cross pay tribute to legendary hockey player Valmore Edwin James

A dedication and donation were made in honor of Val James, the first Black American to play in the NHL. He played for the Buffalo Sabres during the 1981-82 season.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Sabres and Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield donated $10,000 to the Buffalo Police Athletic League Saturday to help build a portable ice rink at the Hennepin Community Center and support hockey education programs.

The project was completed in honor of Val James, the first Black American to play in the NHL. He played for the Buffalo Sabres the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings.

"Being able to see role models that look at you and may have the same interests and to know all the barriers he had to overcome to become great," Nekia Kemp, Buffalo Pal Executive Director, said.

Candidate Byron Brown was on the campaign trail Saturday but also attended the event serving in his mayoral capacity.

"What we're seeing all across the city is that people want to vote for me they want to write my name in they are asking how to write my name in and we feel good going into the November 2 general election," said Mayor Brown.

The Buffalo Police Athletic League provides sports programming for kids in the city, including one that teaches kids how to ice skate.

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