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"Non-momentary movement": NHL focuses on racial diversity

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The Associated Press

Associated Press

Stephen Whyno

I remember seeing the Associated Press in high school. Some of his friends turned to the pros and abandoned hockey because it was "too white." Career. By the time he reached the National Hockey League, dreadlocks were flowing from under his helmet while he was skating.

"Well, he might be black, we really don't know, we really don't know," he said proudly in his voice. "You knew I was black."

As one of the few black players in the NHL at the time, his presence in his career from 1996 to 2007 was in Toronto. It wasn't overlooked by my friends. They told him that the kids were playing hockey.

"It's more proud than playing in the league on your own, because they say," Why should my kid play when you played? Is it something like "?" "Carter said. "It's great to see that change in the mindset of friends."

Fifteen years after Carter skates, the NHL expands its ice hockey footprint globally and closes its popularity. We have adopted what we consider to be an important step towards improving diversity on ice and on the stand. Increasing minority participation in gap management, coaching, and boarding with other US leagues is part of a long-term plan that hopes to change the face of hockey in the coming years.

"Anyone who swings a magic wand and expects these things to happen quickly as opposed to the passage of time understands how the actual changes work. We haven't, "said Kim Davis, who joined the NHL as an executive VP. "What encourages me is the fact that our owners, 32 club leaders, and NHL levels are working on this. People are leaning towards this. They say I often. So, I understand that this is a movement, not a moment, and it takes time to make a change, but we have already seen it. "

Davis said there are currently 54 active players of Arab, Asian, Black, Latin or Indigenous people, accounting for about 7% of the league. The NHL does not hold official statistics on the racial composition of the team roster, but it is significantly higher than when Carter played.

This postseason was a showcase of its diversity with a few minority players on the front lines.

Lebanese Nazem Kadri is one of Colorado's most influential players, winning overtime winners in Game 4 last Wednesday and winning Avalanche from the Stanley Cup. .. Edouard Bellmare, a black man from France, is an important newcomer to the Three Petes in Tampa Bay. New York Rangers fans' favorite Ryback and defensive Candre Miller, as well as black Edmonton star Ebander Kane, all played in the conference finals.

"Now, the little kid at home will be able to watch the game." Look "," Bellmare said. "Because, of course, you're trying to imitate someone who can see yourself."

Richard Lapchick, director of the Institute for Sport Diversity and Ethics at the University of Central Florida "Putting a black star in hockey will also speed up young black children trying to start hockey," he said. Putting players like Kadri and Reaves at the center of a marketing campaign is just one of the few ways you must succeed to see meaningful growth.

So far, promoting diversity in front office recruitment has been characterized by women being more successful than people of color. Both Carter and Davis pointed out that the Dallas Stars recently hired Al Montoya as director of community outreach as a concrete step forward after joining the NHL's Player Participation Committee. Victims of racist language by underage coaches and racist calculations in the United States that began in 2020.

Montoya recently wrote in his notepad: Sharing with Carter, "Time" shares the theory that more diverse front offices lead to the same kind of change on the ice.

"Hiring just to hire is one thing and I don't want to do that," said the NHL's first Cuban-American and first Spanish-speaking player to retire. Said goalkeeper Montoya. "You want to have the best. Diverse minds bring diverse perspectives, which leads to great products. I always have the notion that not all right-handed players want to be on the ice. I'm using it. The same is true for the office. I don't want everyone to think the same way. "

Carter was in the era when European players were stereotyped as soft. Or compared to an era when US college players were overlooked because they didn't go to Canada's junior hockey route. The NHL has definitely become a better product since its widespread integration.

"Because it's normalized in the front office, it's normal to see a variety of players playing on the ice," Carter said. .. "And people may not think,'If the guy is playing in fear, I'm not sure if he's serious about playing hockey or if he's going to be a rapper.'" not. Part of the front office or management team.

In July, the NHL will publish its first census and a report on diversity, equity and inclusiveness. Davis clearly shows that demographics are moving within the league from a representative perspective. Raptic said the NHL was the first to create a race and gender report card with him. This can lead to results in as little as 6 months.

"It also provides us with a baseline so that we can measure ourselves and be accountable for the future." Davis said. “We will look at youth participation in Canada's First Shift and Learn to Play programs and the number of children in color. We can see that the pipeline of children moving to the elite path is increasing. All the indicators are going in the right direction, and that's what we want. We want these indicators to be in the right direction. "

Black, Latino, etc. The grassroots effort to grow the game in the underrated community of is a wise business move for any league and has been going on for a long time. Raptic points out that despite decades of hard work and financial investment in Major League Baseball, there are fewer black players than ever before, and he understands that it's also a challenge for hockey.

"It's an expensive sport — it's not very accessible," Raptic said. "So it's a difficult fight at that level."

Carter, a Turner sports analyst who heads the Player Inclusion Commission, regularly contacts representatives of US hockey and other organizations. Last year, Pittsburgh Penguins continued their efforts such as establishing Willy. Olly Academy provides free instruction to black athletes. Penguins also launched a hockey diversity program run by former Jamaican national team captain Jayden Lindor, who worked to open the first link on the border of the city of Pittsburgh in decades.

"This kind of intentional work needs to be done continuously at all levels in all markets, and all of this actually drives the dial," Davis said. Mr. says.

The dial is not zero. According to Davis, women make up 40% of NHL fans, and 25% of the total are of color. The current task is to build it for the future, and the next step in Carter's mind is to include a more minority representative in the front office and ownership roles.

"We are heading in the right direction," he said. "It happens over time as more candidates are brought to the table. You'll see it happening slowly but surely."

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