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CCM Hockey joins Akim Aliu to promote inclusion, diversity

MONTREAL -- CCM Hockey is partnering with former NHL player Akim Aliu to promote diversity and inclusion, while making it easier for disadvantaged children enter the sport.

The Montreal-based hockey equipment and apparel maker on Tuesday announced it reached an endorsement agreement with Aliu, who is co-chairman of the newly formed Hockey Diversity Alliance and founder of the Time to Dream Foundation.

Aliu came to prominence as a voice against racism and intolerance in hockey in November when revealing Calgary Flames coach Bill Peters directed racial slurs at him while the two were in the minors a decade earlier. Peters resigned days later, and Aliu’s comments led to the NHL strengthening its personal conduct policies regarding racism and bullying.

CCM will make a financial contribution and donate 750 of what it calls ''starter kits,’' which will include necessary equipment for children to play hockey. Aliu will be involved as a mentor and coach.

''The sport of hockey is a mindset, not a demographic,’' CCM CEO Rick Blackshaw said in a statement. ''Hockey is an attitude, not an age. Hockey is a leader, not a gender or race.’'

Said Aliu: ''I’m grateful for their commitment to bring about true and meaningful change that the game of hockey and society desperately need.’'