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History maker and trail blazer Bob Dawson makes celebrated return to Saint Mary’s campus

Bob Dawson walked into the Halifax Forum for the first time in decades.

“It’s been over 50 years for sure,” said Dawson, a Dartmouth, N.S., native who remembered fondly a rough and competitive game he played against the old Halifax Atlantics on this very ice surface.

“There was a large crowd here, and it was quite exciting.”

Dawson is also a hockey legend on the campus of Saint Mary’s University.

Along with Percy Paris and Darrell Maxwell, the trio carved out a chapter in history while playing for the Huskies in 1970.

They formed the first all Black line in Canadian University hockey.

“That was totally unexpected,” said Dawson. “When it happened, we didn’t realize the significance of it.”

Over the years, as they reflected on their experiences, the three friends often said to themselves, “Hey, we did accomplish something rather special.”

As Percy Paris looks back on his teammates, he has a view that extends far from the arena.

“They were better individuals that they were hockey players,” said Paris, who added the Huskies head hockey coach was a man of high character who had a vision to put these three players together on the ice. “It was Bob Boucher’s way of making a statement.”

A statement that still resonates in 2023.

Last Friday, Saint Mary's honoured Dawson with an honorary Doctor of Laws Degree for his advocacy work in hockey and his community.

“I wished that my parents were still alive to have witnessed this,” said Dawson.

They would’ve witnessed an honour bestowed on a man who has made an enormous contribution to Black History and history in general in his home province.

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