NHL Announces Anti-Racism Initiatives, Mandatory Diversity Training

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistSeptember 3, 2020

FILE - In this Sept. 13, 2012, file photo, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman listens as he meets with reporters after a meeting with team owners in New York. The National Hockey Leage Players' Association announces its decision whether to terminate the current collective bargaining agreement and set the clock ticking toward another potential work stoppage in 2020. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

The NHL announced Thursday that the league and the NHL Players Association are planning "mandatory inclusion and diversity training" for all players, while the NHL is implementing further anti-racism initiatives and programs.

League commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement:

"The initiatives we are announcing today are the result of that recommitment to making the NHL more inclusive and welcoming – and to using the privilege of our platform to fight racism.

"For nearly three decades, the NHL has funded organizations and instituted programs designed to make our game more diverse. We are proud of those efforts – particularly the work done by the legendary Willie O'Ree, who has used the values of hockey to positively impact the lives of thousands of girls and boys – but we know we can and must do more. And we will."

Among the efforts, the NHL and NHLPA "will work jointly with the Hockey Diversity Alliance to establish and administer a first-of-its-kind grassroots hockey development program to provide mentorship and skill development for BIPOC [Black, Indigenous and people of color] boys and girls in the Greater Toronto Area."

They'll also look to start a similar program in the United States at a later date.

Additionally, the league's employees will undergo an anti-racism training program put together by Bill Proudman of White Men as Full Diversity Partners. The league will also work with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the Center for Justice Research at Texas Southern University and has "pledged financial support to the Center for Justice Research's student research projects specifically related to improving the criminal justice system."

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

NHL teams will hold "Courageous Conversations" to further discuss "race, equity, diversity and inclusion," and the league will work with Mellody Hobson and John Rogers of Ariel Investments to engage with more minority-owned businesses.

The league has also formed an Executive Inclusion Council and will continue to support the Player Inclusion Committee, the Fan Inclusion Committee and the Youth Hockey Inclusion Committee. As well, the NHL will work with nonpartisan organizations dedicated to informing voters and getting more people out to vote.

"Everyone should be able to live and work in an environment that is inclusive, and one that is free from racism and discrimination in any form," said NHLPA Executive Director Don Fehr. "In our sport, from the NHL to youth programs, we must take actions to achieve that goal, and to make our sport available and accessible to all."