Hockey Diversity Alliance presents potential next steps to NHL players

The Hockey Diversity Alliance had a leading voice in the recent postponement of NHL playoff games, so it should come as no surprise that the group continues making an effort to further the conversation on systemic racism.

On Friday afternoon, the HDA set up a pair of phone calls — one with players in the Toronto bubble, one with players in the Edmonton bubble — to talk about the next steps on the heels of the league’s two-day postponement.

“Some of the things the HDA envisions,” Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston explained during the Saturday Headlines segment of Hockey Night in Canada. “Things like grassroots programs, hiring targets for Black executives [and] the types of businesses it would like to see the NHL do business with in the future.”

Another component of the calls was that the HDA showed players some of the “vicious emails and tweets” the organization has seen recently — a reminder of the type of vitriol that remains in the hockey community and the online community as a whole.

“It sounds like that part specifically was a real eye-opener for players that took part in those calls,” Johnston added.

In a press release issued on Saturday, the HDA announced a series of specific requests to the NHL, such as:

• Increase in the number of Black executives in the NHL to 3.5 per cent before the end of the 2024/2025 season

• Implement anti-racism and unconscious bias education within the NHL and make it mandatory for all League employees before the start of the 2020-2021 season

• Provide funding to the HDA to create and maintain grassroots hockey development programs that will introduce, develop and support BIPOC players in minor hockey; to create an anti-racism and unconscious bias training program for use by minor hockey leagues across North America; and to support social justice initiatives that target racism and access to justice for members of Black, Indigenous and racialized communities

The Hockey Diversity Alliance is a group of current and former hockey players whose defined purpose is to “eradicate systemic racism and intolerance in hockey.” They are also committed to inspiring a “new and diverse generation of hockey players and fans.”

The HDA was founded in June by Akim Aliu and Evander Kane, along with Trevor Daley, Matt Dumba, Anthony Duclair, Nazem Kadri, Wayne Simmonds, Chris Stewart and Joel Ward.

On Thursday afternoon, Aliu and Kane revealed that the HDA had made a formal request to the NHL to postpone games to allow players an opportunity to reflect on the recent shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisc.

Hours later, the NHL announced the postponement of four playoff games that had been scheduled for Thursday and Friday.

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