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The Hockey Diversity Alliance

Written by: Noah Foster

The NHL has taken a big step towards reducing racism and bigotry in the league. Seven current and former NHL players have come together to form the Hockey Diversity Alliance (HDA). Akim Aliu and Evander Kane are co-heads of a committee that includes Trevor Daley, Matt Dumba, Wayne Simmonds, Chris Stewart, and Joel Ward. The HDA wrote in their press release today that ¨our mission is to eradicate racism and intolerance in hockey¨. This is a lofty goal, but in light of recent events, now is the best time for this to be formed. With all of the change soon to come to benefit black people in America, forming this committee will help eliminate racism from the NHL.

If you feel like you recognize Akim Aliu's name but you don't know where from, let me help you out. He was the player that Bill Peters said racist and extremely offensive things to, and when Aliu spoke out, Peters was removed from the head coaching position in Calgary. He also released an article, titled ¨Hockey is Not For Everyone¨, discussing the underlying racist issues in all levels of hockey. This article received a lot of attention, and the Puck Talk Live boys discussed it on one of our shows, which you can listen to here. Having someone who has publicly gone through verbal and physical abuse in the NHL makes this committee's voice even stronger than it already is.

Akim Aliu's article exposed the race-related issues in the NHL, and gave readers an insight into his life as a black player. Photo: Yahoo! Sports

There is one family's name missing from here that I question: Subban. P.K. Subban is one of the most well-known black players and Malcolm Subban is a name some know around the league. Why are they not included in this committee? Did they choose to not be a part of this? It is possible, as this is the first day this is public information, that the Subbans are planning on joining, but for now, questions still remain about their involvement.

To add on to the greatness this alliance promises, Saroya Tinker, a senior on the Yale's women's hockey team, tweeted at Evander Kane asking if black women would be involved, and it seems there is something in the works to include black female voices in this. Many people underestimate how involved young girls are in hockey, so having someone to look up to as a young, black, female hockey player could be crucial. The HDA also mentioned that they have a ¨charitable fiscal sponsor¨ to make the expensive game more accessible for people who can't afford to keep up with the payments.To increase racial diversity in hockey, young black players need to be involved from a young age and have one or more role models in the NHL that share the color of their skin. By making the game affordable for everyone, young aspiring black players will be able to play the game they love. And by having more diversity and less racism in the NHL, they will have more people that look like them to serve as role models.

Saroya Tinker looks for a pass from her teammate. She is planning on joining the HDA to represent black women in hockey. Photo: Yale Athletics

The HDA is a great step towards creating a more positive environment for the black players in the NHL, and in the entire sport of hockey at all levels. There is much more work to be done, but this is the beginning of a massive change in the hockey culture.

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