The NHL and NHLPA have launched several initiatives for a greater diversity of experiences throughout hockey.
Since January 2020, the League Office and all 32 NHL Clubs have pursued with new urgency a variety of initiatives to make our game more welcoming, inclusive, accessible, and socially conscious.
Committing to Change
The hockey community has an incredible platform to advance racial justice, diversity, and inclusion in our society. To use this platform effectively and responsibly, we must all consider our individual capacity to change alongside organizational and structural changes that will foster true progress.
The NHL Committing to Change committee has laid out three fundamental stages that should resonate for all change-makers:
- Awareness: Continuously educating yourself about the experiences of the Black community, as well as the experiences of other marginalized groups.
- Allyship: Supporting and uplifting diverse individuals and standing up when non-inclusive incidents occur.
- Advocacy: Taking action to help achieve a racially just society by using your platform, privilege, network, and resources.
Hockey is for Everyone
Hockey is for Everyone™ uses the game of hockey – and the League’s global influence – to drive positive social change and foster more inclusive communities.
We support any teammate, coach or fan who brings heart, energy, and passion to the rink. We believe all hockey programs – from professionals to youth organizations – should provide a safe, positive, and inclusive environment for players and families regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender identity or expression, disability, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status.
Here are some of the different initiatives that the NHL has in place to show that hockey is for everyone:
Hockey Fights Cancer
Founded in 1998 by the National Hockey League® and the National Hockey League Players’ Association, Hockey Fights Cancer™ (HFC) unites the hockey community in support of cancer patients and their families. The initiative gets an assist from players, coaches, officials, equipment managers, front office staff, corporate partners, and fans. Together, the hockey family looks to inspire hope and courage for those who are living with, going through, and moving past cancer.
November is Hockey Fights Cancer Month across the NHL. Each of the 32 NHL Clubs will celebrate their own Hockey Fights Cancer Night. In addition to other HFC activations and messaging, these games will feature lavender dasher boards (lavender representing all cancers), and coaches and broadcasters will be wearing HFC ties. Players celebrating their Hockey Fights Cancer Night will wear special Hockey Fights Cancer jerseys and use lavender stick tape during warmups.
The NHL and NHLPA celebrate pride month each year. Building a community that welcomes and celebrates authenticity and the love of hockey. Given that pride month is June, each team picks a game to show their support by wearing pride-themed jerseys to be auctioned off with the proceeds going to their different charitable partners.
The controversy of the night
This has been the only initiative that has really brought controversy over the years. What used to be a 32-team initiative has turned out to be a selective night for some teams. The Minnesota Wild were the most recent to scrap the night after it was publicly announced. Several teams have kept pride nights, but if a player doesn’t want to participate then they don’t dress for warmups and much sit out until game time. Some players chose not that partake due to their religious values, and some due to their home country’s government.
You can check out the League’s Accelerating Diversity & Inclusion: NHL Report on Strategies, Initiatives, and Progress here.
Check out the This Is Hockey Declaration of Principles here.