New alliance of seven NHL players seeks to end racism in hockey

Jun 8 2020, 10:43 am

Led by Evander Kane and Akim Aliu, a group of seven current and past NHL players announced the formation of the Hockey Diversity Alliance today, with a mission to “eradicate racism and intolerance in hockey.”

Kane and Aliu will serve as co-heads for the new alliance, with an executive committee that includes Trevor Daley, Matt Dumba, Wayne Simmonds, Chris Stewart, and Joel Ward.

“As minorities who play professional hockey, we have come together to create the Hockey Diversity Alliance,” the group said in a joint statement. “We will strive to be a force for positive change not only within our game of hockey but also within society.”

The group says that although it is independent from the NHL, it is hopeful that it will work with the league to implement important changes.

“We believe in the importance of accountability in developing inclusivity and diversity for all involved in our sport, including fans and the league office,” the group said, adding that they will promote diversity at all levels through community outreach with youth.

“In creating our alliance, we are confident we can inspire a new generation of hockey players and fans. We are hopeful that anyone who puts on skates or sits in the stands will do so without worrying about race, gender, or socioeconomic background and will be able to express their culture, identity, values, and personality without fear or retribution.”

The creation of the alliance comes after the killing of George Floyd and the widespread protests that followed in the United States, Canada, and around the world. NHL players from all different backgrounds have spoken out against racism since then, with some players also marching in protests.

Here’s today’s full statement from the Hockey Diversity Alliance:

We love our sport. We believe that hockey is the greatest game in the world.

As minorities who play professional hockey, we have come together to create the Hockey Diversity Alliance (HDA). We have appointed Akim Aliu and Evander Kane as our co-heads and our executive committee includes Trevor Daley, Matt Dumba, Wayne Simmonds, Chris Stewart and Joel Ward.

Our mission is to eradicate racism and intolerance in hockey. We will strive to be a force for positive change not only within our game of hockey, but also within society. Although we will be independent of the NHL, we are hopeful that we will work productively with the league to accomplish these important changes. We believe in the importance of accountability in developing inclusivity and diversity for all involved in our sport, including fans and the league office.

We will 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. We will also focus on educating the hockey community about the racism issues confronting the sport, while advocating for acceptance and equality. We have partnered with a charitable fiscal sponsor and we will be launching a charitable division in the coming weeks to assist us in achieving our objectives. 

In creating our alliance, we are confident we can inspire a new generation of hockey players and fans. We are hopeful that anyone who puts on skates or sits in the stands will do so without worrying about race, gender or socioeconomic background and will be able to express their culture, identify, values, and personality without fear or retribution. 

We are united in our efforts and promise to work tirelessly to bring about the change our sport and society needs. 

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