In an ever-changing world that demands action and not just words, the NHL announced that it will be dedicating more resources into a variety of initiatives in cooperation with the NHLPA and the teams. This announcement has come on the heels of a boycott across all of the major North American professional sports leagues last week that halted the Stanley Cup playoffs for two days.
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Statement from Gary Bettman via the NHL PR Department:
“We applaud NHL Players for recognizing the importance of this moment and for coming together as part of a genuine movement for change,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “We look forward to working with all voices of change to fight for equality and broaden access to the game we all love.
“Under the leadership of NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Social Impact, Growth Initiatives & Legislative Affairs Kim Davis, the League’s longstanding work in these areas has been refocused over the last three years and accelerated over the last six months. The initiatives we are announcing today are the result of that recommitment to making the NHL more inclusive and welcoming – and to using the privilege of our platform to fight racism.
“For nearly three decades, the NHL has funded organizations and instituted programs designed to make our game more diverse. We are proud of those efforts – particularly the work done by the legendary Willie O’Ree, who has used the values of hockey to positively impact the lives of thousands of girls and boys – but we know we can and must do more. And we will.”
The NHL was issued a challenge by members of the Hockey Diversity Alliance, including Evander Kane and Mathew Dumba, to accept the HDA Pledge and commit to supporting the cause of the alliance. Part of the pledge is committed to creating grassroots hockey developmental programs for BIPOC boys and girls. The NHL is committing to developing these programs, first, in the Greater Toronto area and then in the United States.
Via the NHL press release: “These pilot programs will represent a unique opportunity to partner with the HDA to use the power of their representation to inspire the next generation”.
In addition, all players will be required to undergo inclusion and diversity training during next season’s training camp. This is consistent with the HDA’s mission to educate everyone across the league on the issues they are fighting and to better the hockey community as a whole.
“Everyone should be able to live and work in an environment that is inclusive, and one that is free from racism and discrimination in any form. In our sport, from the NHL to youth programs, we must take actions to achieve that goal, and to make our sport available and accessible to all,” said Don Fehr via the NHL PR Department statement.
More via the NHL PR Department: