On Monday morning, seven hockey players took to social media to announce the formation of “The Hockey Diversity Alliance.” Their plan, to end racism in the sport once and for all.
Retired player Akim Aliu and current San Jose Sharks player Evander Kane are the co-heads of this new organization. They will also be joined by Matt Dumba from the Minnesota Wild, Buffalo Sabres forward Wayne Simmonds, Trevor Daley of the Detroit Red Wings, former player Joel Ward, and Chris Stewart who spent time in the NHL and AHL this past season.
Aliu explained why he thinks this a good start toward ending racism in hockey. “I feel like we’ve got great voices to bring about a positive change. We’ve all faced racism. All seven of us have dealt with it. Hockey is a game that doesn’t easily embrace change. It's stuck in time more than other sports and there’s a lot more work to be done."
He echoed words that have been said since the tragic murder of George Floyd, “It’s time for change”.
The 7 players also reached out to former NFL quarterback Colin Kapernick for help, and discussed the changes they were trying to bring about in the NHL. Evander Kane was more than adamant the time for change is now. “We couldn’t wait around any more. We’ve all had enough of this… We are united and we are going to demand change. We felt, why not us?”
The idea for this movement began several months ago, when Aliu came out and made the NHL aware that ex-NHL coach Bill Peters had used a racial slur against him in his playing days. At the time, Peters chose to resign rather than face league-wide backlash. He is currently coaching in the KHL.
The alliance will be used as an outlet to any player who gets mistreated using racist profanity. They will also be doing fundraisers to get their message across. The organization is still in its infancy phase but hopes to make a lasting difference on the sport.
This is the right move, and hopefully the first step towards a world where we can treat our fellow peers with the same respect and not treat people differently based on skin color or background.
Westhead, R. (2020, June 8). NHL players of colour eye systemic change in hockey with new coalition. Retrieved from https://www.tsn.ca/nhl-players-of-colour-eye-systemic-change-in-hockey-with-new-coalition-1.1484005