The NHL launches a Player Inclusion Coalition to bring much-needed change
The GIST: Shortly following last week’s news that they were doing away with specialty warm-up jerseys, the NHL could be doing something right for once, with yesterday’s launch of a Player Inclusion Coalition in partnership with the NHL Players Association.
The history: After the NHL failed to explicitly say Black Lives Matter following George Floyd’s murder in 2020, players tired of inaction formed the Hockey Diversity Alliance, with a mission to “eradicate racism and intolerance in hockey.”
- Unfortunately, the initiative officially cut ties with the NHL in October 2020, citing a lack of tangible support from the league. Classic.
The details: The newly launched coalition intends to bring much-needed change through an initial $1M fund to support “grassroots programs, education, and other special projects.”
- The first initiative? Awarding several pro women’s and men’s players (Team USA legend Meghan Duggan, Team Canada’s Sarah Nurse, Indigenous athlete and Stanley Cup champ Zach Whitecloud, to name a few) a $5K grant to support an equity-enhancing hockey program of their choice.
- That start at the grassroots level is notable and will hopefully positively impact the next generation of athletes. Growing the game.
Zooming out: While the coalition builds toward a better future, the NHL still has urgent problems to address in the present. Those issues include, but are not limited to, diversity, equity, and inclusion education for players and staff.
- Funding for outside initiatives is wonderful and welcome, but it won’t distract from the league’s systemic issues.