Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Sports & Recreation Hockey

A Fly in a Pail of Milk

The Herb Carnegie Story

by (author) Herb Carnegie

with Bernice Carnegie

ECW Press
Initial publish date
Nov 2019
Hockey, Personal Memoirs, Sports, African American & Black
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2019
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Nov 2019
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it



Revised and updated with commentary from Bernice Carnegie, Herb’s daughter, and life lessons passed from father to daughter

Herbert Carnegie was the complete hockey package in the 1940s and 1950s. Though his contributions to society both in sport and education have been referenced and profiled in books, documentaries, and thousands of articles, this is Carnegie’s own account of striving to break the glass ceiling, starting with his career as a professional hockey player on all-white teams. In 1978, noted hockey journalist Stan Fischler wrote a powerful headline about Carnegie: “Born Too Soon.” A Fly in a Pail of Milk reveals the feelings of a trailblazer — a man who proved to be unstoppable on the ice and in his resolve to make our world a better place.

In this new edition, Herb’s daughter Bernice Carnegie shares stories about what it was like to work closely with Herb on youth and educational projects for more than 30 years. She also reflects on parts of her father’s writings, sharing personal thoughts, family stories, and conversations about how his journey profoundly influenced her life.


About the authors

Contributor Notes

Herbert Carnegie is a Black Canadian icon who was inducted into 13 halls of fame and received eight medals for community service, including the Order of Canada. Following an outstanding career in hockey, he became a revered community leader, enriching countless lives through his character development initiative Future Aces. Bernice Carnegie is an educational and life enrichment speaker who shares the compelling story of her family who settled in Canada circa 1912. She is co-founder of their family’s youth-based charitable foundation that has promoted character education for three decades and proudly served as its executive director for 17 years. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Editorial Reviews


“My dad told me about Herb Carnegie when I was young. I read his book during my adolescent years. However, it was after I made the NHL that I really understood his story. Thanks, Mr. Carnegie for teaching me to make the best of my opportunities and not to be a victim of my circumstance.” — P.K. Subban

“The most senior executive of the Toronto Maple Leafs openly expressed, ‘If I could turn him white, I could take him tomorrow.’ A half century later, Herb Carnegie was still broken as he recounted the story. A king of community and character, icon of sport, both hockey and golf, and man of immeasurable humility and generosity, Herb cleverly manipulated his disappointment into the Future Aces, a foundation that educates, illuminates and inspires our youth to be their best on and off the ice. The impact he’s imparted on youth makes him a perennial all-star and the life he lived makes him a champion.” — Michael “Pinball” Clemons

“Herb Carnegie was one of the most talented professional hockey players of his time, and he paved the way for other players of colour. An exceptional hockey player, had he played in the NHL, I believe he would have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame for his contributions to the game.” — Willie O’Ree, Hockey Hall of Famer

“In a time when racism in hockey is making headlines, Carnegie's newly reissued memoir (with additions from his daughter) provides an open-eyed look at how his NHL prospects were shattered because of racism.” — Toronto Star

“Herb Carnegie had all the talent in the world and only the colour of his skin stopped him from achieving his dream of playing in the NHL. He could have been bitter. Instead, he used his life as a light to show others why everyone deserves empathy, dignity, and respect.” — Marci Ien, broadcast journalist, The Social