Lawrence "Larry" Kwong (born Eng Kai Geong) was born in Vernon, British Columbia in 1923. As an 18-year old, he joined the semi-professional Trail Smoke Eaters. three years later, he was offered a trial with the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks, but the Canadian government refused to process the documentation to allow him to leave the country. In 1944, he received his call-up to the Canadian Army, but remained in Canada rather than being deployed overseas. After the end of the Second World War, he returned to the Smoke Eaters, winning the British Columbia provincial championship in 1946. The same year, he was scouted for the New York Rovers, a farm team of the New York Rangers. On 13 March 1948, less than a year after Jackie Robinson broke the colour barrier in baseball, Kwong made his NHL debut for the Rangers, playing against the Montreal Canadiens, becoming the first Asian and first non-white player to appear in the league. This proved to be his only game in the NHL, as he felt that, despite being the leading scorer for the Rovers the previous year, other forwards had been promoted to the Rangers ahead of him. As a result, he signed a deal to join the Valleyfield Braves in the Quebec Senior Hockey League, going on to play for the team for another nine years.