NHL celebrates Black History Month

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BRUNSWICK, OH- The NHL’s “Hockey is for Everyone™” campaign seeks to provide a “safe, positive, and inclusive environment” for players of the sport, regardless of “race, color, religion, national origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation and socio-economic status”.

The campaign is in its first few years, and has primarily shown support to the LGBTQ+ community through apparel, and womens’ hockey players through inclusion in league activities like the All Star Skills Competition. The 2018-2019 season shows a continued growth in the HIFE campaign, with the NHL’s celebration of Black History Month.

After over a century of NHL hockey without a formal Black History Month celebration, the league has several events planned for the month of February. A mobile museum of minorities in hockey will tour a number of NHL cities- including New York City, Nashville, Tampa Bay, and Philadelphia. The museum will capture players from Willie O’Ree (who broke the NHL’s color barrier in 1958), to current stars like P.K. Subban, as well as other minorities including broadcasters, and officials, stated Sporting News.

NHL executive vice president of social impact Kim Davis explains, “I think a focus like this during Black History Month will affirm those many kids of color that are already playing our game … I think we often underestimate the pipeline of talent that is already involved in our game.”

Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman, and HIFE ambassador Seth Jones stated to the NHL Players’ Association:

“The players are committed to inclusion in the sport … I know that important conversations and perspectives will be shared as part of the Black History Month celebration, with the goal of creating a welcoming environment while promoting diversity of players and fans”.

HIFE inclusion initiatives are planned for the rest of the season, with March being gender-equality month, April as Earth Month, and Pride Month in June, stated the NHLPA. For more information regarding Black History Month in the NHL, as well as the HIFE campaign as a whole, visit NHL.com/BlackHockeyHistory.