A group of NHL players is coming together to confront racism in the sport. On Monday, June 8, San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane and former NHL player Akim Aliu were announced as the co-heads of the Hockey Diversity Alliance (HDA).
The HDA will aim to “eradicate racism and intolerance in hockey,” according to a press release.
Other members of the Hockey Diversity Alliance executive committee are Detroit Red Wings defenseman Trevor Daley, Minnesota Wild blue-liner Matt Dumba, Buffalo Sabres winger Wayne Simmonds, retired forward Joel Ward and winger Chris Stewart, who plays for the Flyers AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
“As minorities who play professional hockey, we have come together to create the Hockey Diversity Alliance,” the release reads.
“Our mission is to eradicate racism and intolerance in hockey. We will strive to be a force for positive change not only within our game of hockey, but also within society. Although we will be independent of the NHL, we are hopeful that we will work productively with the league to accomplish these important changes. We believe in the importance of accountability in developing inclusivity and diversity for all involved in our sport, including fans and the league office.
We are proud to announce the formation of the Hockey Diversity Alliance 🏒 ✊🏾 pic.twitter.com/Z5g6BP2b4f
— Evander Kane (@evanderkane_9) June 8, 2020
“We will also focus on educating the hockey community about the racism issues confronting the sport, while advocating for acceptance and equality. We have partnered with a charitable fiscal sponsor and we will be launching a charitable division in the coming weeks to assist us in achieving our objectives.
“In creating our alliance, we are confident we can inspire a new generation of hockey players and fans. We are hopeful that anyone who puts on skates or sits in the stands will do so without worrying about race, gender, socioeconomic background and will be able to express their culture, identity, value and personality without fear of retribution.
“We are united in our efforts and promise to work tirelessly to bring about the change our sport and society needs.”
The formation of the HDA comes at a time where there is more focus than ever on racial inequality, social injustice, and systemic racism in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
Floyd was killed after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on the back of his neck for nearly 8 minutes while Floyd pleaded for air. The ex-officer, Derek Chauvin, has been arrested had his charges upgraded to second-degree murder. The three other officers involved — Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao — have been fired by the Minneapolis Police Department and were also arrested and charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.