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By Paul Palmeter – CBC News

Hockey players from the U20 Jamaican Olympic Ice Hockey Federation will be coming to Dartmouth this month to play two exhibition games, with the goal of getting more players from diverse backgrounds involved in the sport.

The players are of Jamaican descent and the majority play in Ontario. They will be going up against a team comprised of some members of the Halifax Mooseheads, local Junior A players and midget hockey players from the Halifax area (Nova Scotia U-20 all-star team),.

“We’re hoping to expose Canada’s favourite pastime to historically marginalized communities,” said Kendrick Douglas, organizing committee chair for the event, which is called Celebrating Diversity Through Sport.

The game will take place on May 14 at the Dartmouth Sportsplex and will be broadcast on Eastlink.

Most play in OHL

“The majority of the players play in the Ontario Hockey League, with the remainder of them playing Junior A with hopes of getting U.S. scholarships,” said Douglas, a Halifax lawyer and former college hockey player.

“They will be a pretty formidable team.”

There will be another game the day before at the Sportsplex, this one between the U20 Jamaican team and a team of prominent local players and community leaders from diverse backgrounds.

The Nova Scotia government is providing $50,000 for the games from the Nova Scotia 150 Forward Fund.

Graeme Townshend is the coach of the visiting team. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, he played with three NHL teams, including the Boston Bruins.

Other events are being planned for the team, including trips to the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame and the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia.