Sabres captain Kyle Okposo's legacy on the NHL

Kyle Okposo is part of a small, but important group.
Buffalo Sabres v Arizona Coyotes
Buffalo Sabres v Arizona Coyotes / Zac BonDurant/GettyImages

Starting before the 2022/2023 season, Buffalo Sabres right winger Kyle Okposo was named the 20th captain in team history. More importantly, as we celebrate Black History Month, he is just the 4th black captain in the history of the NHL.

Okposo has been a steady presence for Buffalo since signing with the team in 2017. He was an NHL all-star in 2017 representing Buffalo. In November of 2023, he played in his 1,000th game. Kyle was named as an assistant captain during the 2021-2022 campaign. Before the start of last season, he was given the captaincy.

He joined former black captains, Dirk Graham, Jarome Iginla and Bryce Salvador as the only African-American players to be given the honor. For Okposo, the legacy of being a black captain has not been lost on him.

In 2022, during an interview with Spectrum News, he commented on the honor. "When I first got into the league, or when I signed — Jarome Iginla is half Nigerian like myself, and he was an idol of mine for sure," Okposo said. "And when I first was in Bridgeport, he called me."Kyle also added that the two spoke for about 15 minutes, just welcoming him into the league.

So that moment was very special to me, and kind of the first thing that popped into my head was that he wore the captain 'C' you know, he worked the 'C' for Calgary for several years. So definitely a tremendous honor and something that, with everything that's going on in the world, I don't take lightly."

Okposo has 11 goals and 7 assists for this season and even though he might be off the roster at the end of the season with his contract expiring, his presence on the Sabres roster has resonated in the and the organization as well.