The world of sports came to a halt just over a week ago, as athletes across all leagues wanted to use their platform to raise awareness for social injustice. The reason for this movement came following an incident with Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, who was shot seven times by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
In part with multiple leagues across the country, the NHL made the decision to join in on what players across the country were standing for — and released a statement postponing games that were originally scheduled for Aug. 28 and 29.
Their statement became a reality on Thursday, when the NHL announced the formation of the Executive Inclusion Council. This council has been comprised of owners, former players, and club and league executives.
"The Council, co-chaired by Buffalo Sabres’ Owner Kim Pegula and NHL Commissioner Bettman, will be committed to spearheading more inclusive thinking and more inclusive outcomes throughout the hockey ecosystem by candidly assessing its current state; identifying opportunities for positive change; and developing tangible action steps and benchmarks that will advance both the inclusion and diversity of the sport. This Council will focus on the importance of metrics and accountability."
The Hockey Diversity Alliance — created by Black NHLers on a mission to make change at all levels of hockey and not only educate, but encourage accountability from leagues and leaders — will also play a huge part in these actions moving forward.
The two groups have already opened up a conversation and will continue to work together to create "long-lasting structural and cultural change."
In addition to the Executive Inclusion Council, the NHL and NHLPA have also taken several more steps.
•The development of an NHL hotline. It is set to be operated by a third-party in an effort to report unethical behavior and misconduct across the league.
•The NHL/NHLPA will continue making significant financial investments that will help grow the sport of hockey at youth level in communities of color.
•The NHL plans on providing funding that will specifically focus on supporting new initiatives to bring more people of color into the game at all levels.