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NHL announces initiatives focused on fight against racism

NHL announces initiatives focused on fight against racism
Posted at 12:52 PM, Sep 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-03 16:19:03-04

The National Hockey League announced on Thursday a series of plans that will focus on the fight against racism and the "mandate to make our sport and our league more welcoming and inclusive."

"We applaud NHL Players for recognizing the importance of this moment and for coming together as part of a genuine movement for change," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a press release. "We look forward to working with all voices of change to fight for equality and broaden access to the game we all love."

Several of the initiatives announced will include all players partaking in mandatory inclusion and diversity training during training camp and the first part of the 2020-21 season.

League employees will also have an inclusion training conducted by Bill Proudman from White Men as Full Diversity Partners.

The NHL and NHL Players Association announced Thursday that in a joint effort with the Hockey Diversity Alliance, they'll establish a "first-of-its-kind grassroots hockey development program" that'll "provide mentorship and skill development for BIPOC boys and girls in the Greater Toronto area."

A pilot program in the U.S. will be announced at a later date, the league said.

The company also announced the formation of the three committees and the Executive Inclusion Council, who will be co-chaired by Buffalo Sabres owner Kim Pegula and Bettman.

New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban and NBC analyst Anson Carter would co-chair the Player Inclusion Committee, which will include current and former league players and players from the women's national team.

The Fan Inclusion Committee and Youth Hockey Inclusion Committee "will each develop action-oriented solutions that positively impact the access, opportunity, and experiences that underrepresented groups have in the game, and in the business, of hockey," the league said.

"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. 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," said Don Fehr, NHLPA Executive Director in the press release.

The news comes as the league took some criticism back in August when it decided to play three playoff games when teams and players in other leagues postponed their games to protest racial injustice in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake.

The NHL did postpone playoff games for two days after members of the HDA asked the league to suspend them.