Jordan Greenway’s time on the ice this week marked an Olympic milestone of a different kind.
The Boston University junior and Terriers left winger is the first African-American player to take part in the Olympics for the US men’s ice hockey team since the sport was introduced to the Games in 1920, an experience he hopes will inspire other young black athletes.
“I hope I’m the first of many,” Greenway told BU Today, Boston University’s official news site, in an interview before heading to the Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. “These are memories that I’ll have forever.”
Greenway, who is 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighs 225 pounds, got the call about making the team late last year. The life-changing event was made possible by the National Hockey League’s decision to not send professional athletes to the Olympics this year.
Though the news came after the holidays, he told NBC Sports that it was “one of the best Christmas presents” that he received.
“I was really excited,” said Greenway, who was raised by his mother in Canton, N.Y., where his love of hockey took shape.
According to Greenway’s biography on the US men’s hockey team website, the BU star player was selected by the Minnesota Wild in the second round of the 2015 NHL Draft. Ultimately, he decided to return to school for another season.
“I don’t want to be average. I want to come in and have an impact,” he told NHL.com. “So going back to school for one more year, that’s what I’m going to do.”
He counts “being with a team, winning, and being in the locker room with all your teammates” as being among his favorite aspects of hockey.
Greenway’s Olympic debut comes not long after he helped his teammates at BU soar to a 3-2 victory against Harvard University during the first round of this year’s Beanpot Tournament last week, according to BU Today. The team eventually fell to Northeastern University in the finals — a game Greenway skipped as he headed to PyeongChang — ending a 30-year drought for the Huskies.
As for his time in South Korea, it looks like Greenway is doing well by his team there, too.
On Wednesday, the 20-year-old scored his first Olympic goal against Slovenia, during the second period, putting the United States up 2-0. The move was celebrated by his team and lauded by spectators as he became the first black goal-scorer in Olympic history, reports said.
Despite his best efforts, the men’s team lost 3-2 in overtime during the opening game at the Kwandong Hockey Centre.
But it doesn’t seem likely that the early hit will slow down the Boston player’s determination to come home with a victory.
“I never thought it would come this soon, like before I graduate from college,” he told the Associated Press of his chance to play in the Olympics. “But I’m excited it’s happening this year and I’m going to take full advantage of it.”