Shandor Alphonso never envisioned his hockey career taking him to officiating. He didn’t have to look far to see it was possible.As a young [url=http://www.officialdevils.com/authentic-adidas-marcus-johansson-jersey]Authentic Marcus Johansson Jersey[/url] , black player, all Alphonso had to do was watch ”Hockey Night in Canada” or the Stanley Cup Final and he saw fellow minority Jay Sharrers working as a linesman.”To be able to see someone who kind of looked like me working at the biggest stage of his job, it was unreal,” Alphonso said.The 34-year-old Alphonso is the NHL’s only African-American official, and Calgary Flames assistant Paul Jerrard is the league’s only black coach. With the sport’s expansion to some nontraditional markets across the United States, there are almost two dozen black players in the NHL, but Sharrers, Alphonso and Jerrard serve as inspiration for more to follow into positions of authority.”I think it’s an evolutionary process,” said Sharrers, who recently retired. ”It’s definitely moved slowly, but I think when you just look at the amount of black players that are now in the league and the fact that that has increased, it would stand to reason that hopefully the opportunity for officials would present itself.”Sixty years after Willie O’Ree of the Boston Bruins broke the color barrier as the NHL’s first black player, the league is still taking steps to increase its diversity. Alphonso is an ambassador for the ”Hockey is for Everyone” campaign this month, which is Black History Month.Sharrers acknowledged the expense of playing hockey has been a hurdle for minority children for years, but said he is optimistic that more will not only lace up their skates but move into other roles.”It just stands to reason that that would be a natural progression [url=http://www.officialhockeypanthersshop.com/authentic-adidas-michael-hutchinson-jersey]Michael Hutchinson Jersey Womens[/url] , that there would more officials of color,” Sharrers said. ”The league has been very proactive since they partnered with Willie and created the diversity taskforce almost 20 years ago to expose and to present to people of color that hockey is a great game and it’s a viable opportunity.”Opportunities have existed for minorities to get into coaching and officiating, though the majority have ended up as goaltending coaches like former NHL goalie Fred Brathwaite. Jerrard played five games in the NHL and then went into coaching, where he’s a visible role model – even if that’s not a role he was looking for.”I’m just another coach who’s trying to do a good job in the league and stay in the league,” said Jerrard, 52, who has been an assistant with the Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars and Flames along with several American Hockey League teams. ”I guess I am now in a little bit of a position of a role model, but my drive to be a role model isn’t due to the color of my skin. It’s just the way I wanted carry myself as a human being, the way I want to be looked at: doing the right thing and working hard.”Jerrard hopes kids seeing minorities on the ice playing or officiating or behind the bench coaching shows that ”if they’re skilled, driven and passionate, there’s an opportunity for them.”That’s what happened for Alphonso, who knew he wasn’t going to make it to the NHL as a player and wanted to stay in the game. He thought to himself, ”If Jay Sharrers can do it, I could do it” and followed him up the ranks.Now Alphonso is the one kids can look up to [url=http://www.officialdevils.com/authentic-adidas-miles-wood-jersey]http://www.officialdevils.com/authentic-adidas-miles-wood-jersey[/url] , and Sharrers – who became the NHL’s first black referee in 2001 – believes his younger counterpart can have an even bigger impact.”Being that his skin is a lot darker than mine and I’m very light-skinned, it wouldn’t register necessarily with someone unless they knew my background to know that I was a person of color,” Sharrers said. ”I think for him having both parents being black and being much more of a visible minority, if you will, I think that’s definitely a role that he will now assume.”Alphonso welcomes that position and would love to one day meet a fellow official he inspired to go that route.”It’s huge for younger kids to see there are way more things to hockey than just being a hockey player,” Alphonso said. ”That’s hopefully what we can inspire these kids to do and get them more involved with the game down the road.”— RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Greg McKegg made his Carolina debut one to remember.McKegg had a goal and an assist in his first game with the Hurricanes, and Carolina defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2 Friday night.McKegg was recalled from Charlotte of the American Hockey League on an emergency basis earlier Friday after Carolina placed Jordan Staal on injured reserve. Playing in his first NHL game since November 2017, the journeyman center assisted on a goal in the first period and scored the decisive goal in the second to lift the Hurricanes to their third straight win.“He’s a pro,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “We did a nice job getting him in our organization. He had a great training camp and he was right there. This was an easy call-up. He’s obviously trying to stay here. I love it.”It was the first multi-point game of McKegg’s six-year career. It came after he got word of his call-up late Thursday, made a two-hour drive from Belleville, Ontario, to Toronto, caught an early flight and arrived in Raleigh late Friday morning.“Obviously it’s special,” McKegg said. “You never know when (a call-up) is going to come and you just have to keep grinding away. To contribute at this level at any point in your career is special. “Micheal Ferland [url=http://www.officialdevils.com/authentic-adidas-nico-hischier-jersey]Nico Hischier Jersey[/url] , Dougie Hamilton and Sebastian Aho added goals for Carolina. Curtis McElhinney stopped 22 shots in his second straight win after four consecutive losses.Oliver Bjorkstrand and Artemi Panarin scored 25 seconds apart in the second period for the Blue Jackets. Sergei Bobrovsky surrendered three goals on 16 shots before being pulled midway through second period.“I always think a hockey team should get better each and every game,” Columbus coach John Tortorella said. “And tonight there were just way too many passengers.”McKegg, playing for his fifth team in six seasons, helped propel Carolina to an early 3-0 lead.Ferland’s one-timer from the left faceoff circle put Carolina up 5:16 into the first period. Less than 90 seconds later, Hamilton made it 2-0 when his wrist shot from the left point deflected off Bobrovsky’s glove and trickled into the net.After setting up Hamilton’s goal with a drop pass, McKegg found the net in the second period.Brett Pesce fired a pass for McKegg breaking down the middle toward the goal, and McKegg redirected the puck into the net — again off Bobrovsky’s glove — to make it 3-0.“You just kind of want to put your best foot forward and contribute any way you can,” McKegg said. “To chip in at this level is obviously special. To cap it off with a win was pretty awesome.”Joonas Korpisalo replaced Bobrovsky shortly after.“I’m not giving assessment on the goaltending,” Tortorella said. “Korpi played well. He was one of the few guys who played well.”Bjorkstrand and Panarin’s quick goals late in the period pulled the Blue Jackets within one heading into the third, but McElhinney stopped all seven shots he faced in the final period and Aho scored an empty-netter with two seconds remaining to secure the Carolina victory.“We came out great. I thought the guys to a man were on it,” Brind’Amour said. “Every part of our game was pretty solid.”NOTES: Columbus captain Nick Foligno missed his second straight game to tend to his newborn daughter, Milana, who had heart surgery last week. He remains on indefinite leave. … Carolina F Saku Maenalanen recorded his first NHL point with an assist on Hamilton’s goal. … McElhinney appeared in 85 games for Columbus from 2013-17.UP NEXTBlue Jackets: At Florida on Saturday.Hurricanes: At Ottawa on Sunday.