The NHL and NHLPA jointly announced new initiatives and programs on Thursday to combat racism and accelerate its inclusivity in the sport. The NHL also signaled that it would begin working with the Hockey Diversity Alliance more and continuing its dialogue.
“At this moment, which calls on all of us not only to be clear about our engagement on social issues, but to take action, the National Hockey League announced a series of significant initiatives focused on the fight against racism and the mandate to make our sport and our League more welcoming and inclusive,” the press release says.
The announcement comes a week after NHL players shut down games for two days to protest racism and police brutality.
The full transcript from the NHL is below.
NEW YORK/TORONTO (Sept. 3, 2020) – At this moment, which calls on all of us not only to be clear about our engagement on social issues, but to take action, the National Hockey League announced a series of significant initiatives focused on the fight against racism and the mandate to make our sport and our League more welcoming and inclusive. In addition, the League and its Member Clubs, along with the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) have committed to a number of other specific initiatives.
“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.”
“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, NHLPA Executive Director.
JOINT NHLPA/NHL ANTI-RACISM EFFORTS
NHL ANTI-RACISM EFFORTS
THOSE LEADING THE CULTURE CHANGE
The League has formed the Executive Inclusion Council (EIC), comprised of Owners, former Players and Club and League executives. The Council, co-chaired by Buffalo Sabres’ Owner Kim Pegula and NHL Commissioner Bettman, will be committed to spearheading more inclusive thinking and more inclusive outcomes throughout the hockey ecosystem by candidly assessing its current state; identifying opportunities for positive change; and developing tangible action steps and benchmarks that will advance both the inclusion and diversity of the sport. This Council will focus on the importance of metrics and accountability.
Additionally, three committees – the Player Inclusion Committee (PIC), co-chaired by P.K. Subban and Anson Carter and comprised of current and former NHL and Women’s National Team Players, the Fan Inclusion Committee (FIC) and the Youth Hockey Inclusion Committee (YHIC) will each develop action-oriented solutions that positively impact the access, opportunity and experiences that underrepresented groups have in the game – and in the business – of hockey.
Assisting the EIC in its efforts is Korn Ferry, an esteemed consultancy with decades of expertise in the diversity and inclusion space. Korn Ferry is taking an impact-focused approach to our diversity and inclusion efforts, where they are examining the diversity, inclusion and cultural levers that impact action-oriented outcomes as well as the governance and structure of the EIC.
As part of its work, the EIC will develop strategies to provide more inclusive workplaces and environments while holding ourselves accountable. These include:
These efforts will operate in tandem with existing initiatives to uplift diverse talent throughout the sport, including the 2020 NHL Coaches’ Association Global Coaches’ Clinic, which worked to identify, engage and support developing coaches of color.
The FIC and YHIC will be comprised of top business minds, thought-leaders, advocates, community organizers and devotees of the game – representing the diversity the League seeks – to amplify the voice of the hockey ecosystem and to design solutions to break down barriers to change.
To ensure the committee process yields practical and measurable cultural change, the League has engaged with The Ascendant Athlete, an advisory group that works with athletes to advance impact on social justice issues. The Ascendant Athlete is currently conducting interviews with all members of the PIC and YHIC to form a basis for the committees’ efforts. The Ascendant Athlete team will remain actively involved in these committees going forward by providing professional facilitation in each meeting.
Over the past few months, many of our Players have taken the initiative to further conversations about race, inclusion and culture change. In addition to those Players who have embraced their individual platforms, the Hockey Diversity Alliance has been vocal about its commitment to making change on these issues. We appreciate the HDA’s input and will remain attentive to all of our Players’ concerns. As the League continues its efforts to make long-lasting structural and cultural change, we look forward to continuing the dialogue with the HDA and working together to bring about the change in our game we both strive to achieve.
JOINT NHLPA/NHL ACTION STEPS
To ensure a positive, respectful, and empowering culture for NHL Players of color as well as encouraging positive change at the grassroots level and throughout the broader hockey community, the League and NHLPA have taken several steps, including:
NHL-SPECIFIC ACTION STEPS
To help the hockey community exercise its right to vote, the League will assist our Clubs in exploring ways to encourage fans to be active civic participants and to use their venues as polling places – several Clubs have already committed to taking these steps in partnership with local election officials. The League will collaborate with two non-partisan organizations focused on voter education and increased participation in the U.S. which will connect with Clubs as appropriate.
“When We All Vote” (WWAV) is a nonpartisan, non-profit organization on a mission to increase participation in every election and to change the culture around voting through strategies including:
In continuation of our multi-year partnership with “RISE,” a non-profit organization that uses sport to address racism and empowers the sports community to use its voice to effect real change, the NHL will:
As these efforts get underway, the NHL will commit to designate 2020 U.S. Election Day and future general election days in both Canada and the U.S. as company-wide “off days” to make it easier for our staff to vote, while also emphasizing to our fans and stakeholders the importance of participating in the democratic process. Also, as appropriate, Clubs will be encouraged to offer their arenas to assist local election officials.
JOINT NHLPA/NHL WORK THAT WILL CONTINUE
LEAGUE-SPECIFIC WORK THAT WILL CONTINUE
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