Since the senseless murder of George Floyd, plans to achieve racial equity have been at the forefront of discussions across the country and abroad. Thankfully, the world of hockey will not be exempt from these important conversations.
Monday, several minority NHL players announced the formation of the Hockey Diversity Alliance. The coalition is aiming to permanently eliminate racism from hockey culture and “promote diversity at all levels of the game through community outreach and engagement with youth and will endeavor to make the game more affordable and accessible.”
San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane and former NHLer Akim Aliu are serving as the alliance’s co-heads, while Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba, Buffalo Sabres forward Wayne Simmonds, Detroit Red Wings defenseman Trevor Daley, Philadelphia Flyers forward Chris Stewart and former NHLer Joel Ward will all serve on the executive committee.
Like Dumba, Stewart and Ward both spent portions of their careers playing in Minnesota.
According to TSN’s Frank Seravalli, former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick recently offered his support and guidance when meeting with members of the Hockey Diversity Alliance via Zoom calls.
The NHL has seen a number of race-related incidents in recent years. In November, former Calgary Flames head coach Bill Peters resigned after it was revealed that he directed racial slurs at Aliu during his rookie season. More recently, New York Rangers prospect K’Andre Miller was the recipient of racial epithets by an anonymous online user during a Zoom Q&A in April.
While the Hockey Diversity Alliance will operate independently, the group will work closely with the NHL in order to bring positive and much-needed change to hockey culture.
The NHL is also in the process of forming its own committees to fight racism. Kim Davis, NHL senior executive vice president of social impact, growth initiatives and legislative affairs, believes that these committees will be essential to hockey’s growth in the coming years.
“These are the things that are going to sustain our League for the long haul, and when fans and potential fans see that we’re serious about this and that they see the action and the movement in this direction, I think that’s when they are going to believe that we’re serious, and that’s how we’re going to grow this game.”
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