The Hockey Diversity Alliance was the driving force in pressuring the NHL to postpone playoff games, following other major leagues — albeit a day late — in striking to protest racial injustice and the recent shooting of Jacob Blake.
The Milwaukee Bucks led the charge during one of the most hectic and transformative days in sports history on Wednesday, refusing to take the court with the full intention of forfeiting, before their opponent — and eventually the rest of the NBA — quickly joined their efforts. Major League Baseball, the WNBA and MLS also fully or partially punted their schedule for the evening, while the NHL forged ahead with its playoff games.
The players eventually banded together to make the right decision in postponing Thursday’s and Friday’s games, and it was the newly-formed HDA putting the initial public pressure on the league and its players to do so.
The Hockey Diversity Alliance — led by Black/POC NHL and professional players, including Evander Kane, Matt Dumba, Wayne Simmonds and Akim Aliu — acted as a bridge after several players in the bubble reached out to Kane and Dumba on Thursday morning for guidance.
Exactly. The PLAYERS took a stand today, they stepped up. Proud of my fellow nhl PLAYERS for their action. https://t.co/IKcsvcoUbl— Evander Kane (@evanderkane_9) August 27, 2020
According to TSN reporter Rick Westhead, the HDA has also made several other requests to the NHL dating back several weeks. Among them, according to Westhead, is that “team owners offer NHL rinks to be used as polling stations for the upcoming US election.”
In a Twitter thread on Thursday evening, Westhead laid out several actionable items related to social justice and equality that the HDA requested of the NHL back in mid-July. So for those shouting into the void “why don’t they just take action” or asking “what do they even want?” — a list of exactly that:
The NHL to commit to diversifying NHL and team staff and suppliers. “‘Black suppliers’ should deliver at least 10 percent of NHL procurement expenditure by the 2020-21 season.”
For the NHL to be fully and completely transparent regarding all information “related to the policies, targets and commitments” related to the hiring of employees who are visible minorities.
Asked the NHL to commit $10 million per year ($100 million total) over 10 years to battle systemic racism. Westhead adds that the HDA has suggested that money go towards grassroots programs, anti-racism education, social justice initiatives, executive and coach training, and youth scholarships.
Requested that the league run PSAs for the Hockey Diversity Alliance during the NHL postseason this summer and for the on-ice presence of the HDA logo throughout the playoffs to raise awareness of the initiative.
Proposed “Black out” warm-up jerseys to help build awareness of the alliance’s agenda and which could be sold to help raise money for HDA initiatives.
Proposed the NHL temporarily changing the blue line to black for some games to raise awareness.
In a sad but not at all surprising development, Westhead added that the NHL, as of today, has not agreed or committed to any of the aforementioned requests. Kane joined NBC’s studio show on Thursday and basically echoed the same sentiments , claiming the NHL hasn’t been very receptive or committal to their initiates so far.
.@evanderkane_9 goes into detail with @AnsonCarterLA, @KathrynTappen and @10PSharp about what the Hockey Diversity Alliance wants to accomplish alongside the NHL. #ISupportHDA pic.twitter.com/WXKtGvEUeS— #StanleyCup Playoffs on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) August 28, 2020
“To be honest Anson, we’ve been talking with the NHL for just over two months now, and we made it very clear in our first statement when we came out as an alliance that we sought to work with the National Hockey League and we haven’t wavered from that, yet,” Kane told NBC analyst Anson Carter.
“It’s definitely been a little more difficult than we would’ve probably anticipated because of the importance of these issues and thinking that there would be a better understanding of these issues, but we’re continuing to work with (the league) hopefully to create that awareness and have them understand the importance of these issues and how important it is to help ultimately grow our game.”
Kane added that the alliance laid out in detail a couple months ago what they want via their pledge, but says they’ve yet to get full — or even somewhat significant — buy-in from the league.
“We have come with tangible plans and ideas that we want to bring to the table and ultimately see come to fruition, and we’re just still, I guess, wondering if (the NHL) want to be apart of that and be a part of the process.”
A large chunk of the NHL’s fanbase is wondering the same thing.
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