In an effort to work toward making hockey a more inclusive sport, seven of the game’s players of colour have teamed up to form the Hockey Diversity Alliance.
The group’s mission is to rid the game of racism and intolerance and be a positive force not only in sport, but in society as a whole. It also strives to inspire a new generation of players and fans.
Evander Kane and Akim Aliu were named co-heads of the Alliance, with Trevor Daley, Matt Dumba, Wayne Simmonds, Chris Stewart and Joel Ward making up the executive committee.
We are proud to announce the formation of the Hockey Diversity Alliance pic.twitter.com/Z5g6BP2b4f
— Evander Kane (@evanderkane_9) June 8, 2020
The group is independent from the NHL but hopes to work closely with the league to bring about change.
Aliu has been a leading voice in the hockey world’s push for inclusivity, speaking publicly on several occasions about the racism he’s faced during his time in the game.
In the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minnesota in May, Kane stepped up and called for other athletes to make their voices heard in an effort to get rid of racial inequality.
“I think hockey, unfortunately, has a different culture than some of the other sports in terms of speaking out and using your voice and speaking your mind,” Kane said during a recent appearance on ESPN’s First Take. “I think, for me, I’m one of the anomalies when it comes to NHL players and doing that. That’s another part of our problem is guys being scared to really speak their mind and stand up for what is right.”
More than 100 NHL players have answered the bell and used their platform to fight against injustice. Donald Fehr, the executive director of the NHL Players’ Association, has been pleased with the response.
“I’m really proud of the guys,” he said in an interview with The Canadian Press. “They understand it’s an important moment. They understand what the issues are, at least in the grand scope. And they’re making their voice heard. Not everybody, but quite a lot.
“And that’s to their credit.”
-With files from The Canadian Press