Evander Kane: Hockey Diversity Alliance allows players to “create their own story”

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His entire NHL career has led to this moment.

Since its inception in 2009, Kane has worked to promote hockey in various underserved communities with the goal of expanding its inclusiveness. Other visible minority actors did the same, waiting for the cause to spread. Now they’ve finished waiting.

“We don’t want to wait for something to happen because, to be honest, I’ve been waiting for 11 years,” Kane told reporters on a call Tuesday. ” I’m fed up. Because the story has always been controlled by the upper echelon.

“I think this is a great opportunity for us to create our own narrative and (to change) the way people think and the culture of our sport.”

Central hockey
Joel Ward on the formation of the Hockey Diversity Alliance
June 08, 2020

The “big opportunity” mentioned by Kane is the Hockey Diversity Alliance, a group formed on Monday to promote diversity and eliminate racism in hockey. Kane and Akim Aliu are co-chefs, while Trevor Daley, Matt Dumba, Wayne Simmonds, Chris Stewart and Joel Ward complete the executive committee.

The genesis of the alliance came at the end of November, when Aliu first released his experience as a target of racial slurs to Coach Bill Peters during their time together in the AHL.

Kane said a group of more than a dozen players were on the phone to discuss how they wanted to act. These conversations declined, but were restarted in late May – after Aliu published his story “Hockey isn’t for everyone” on Players’ grandstand and the death of George Floyd sparked worldwide protests against racial injustice.

At this point, it was clear that players needed to turn their words into actions. As Kane said, “We thought we couldn’t just talk about it anymore. We had to do something about them. “

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To achieve its primary goals, the Hockey Diversity Alliance plans to create opportunities for young hockey players who would not otherwise have the opportunity to play or even learn more about the sport.

White athletes have always dominated the hockey landscape, even in communities where whites are not in the majority.

Of the 24 American NHL franchises, 10 are located in metropolitan areas with white minority populations, according to a report by the Wall Street newspaper. However, in the 2018-19 season, there were only 50 non-white players in the NHL.

In the announcement made by Kane of the alliance on Monday, a line stands out to underline the group’s ambition: “We hope that anyone who skates or sits in the stands will do so without worrying about race, gender or socio-economic background and will be able to express their culture, identity, values ​​and personality without fear of reprisals. “

Kane said he and other members of the alliance have received support from league players in a response he described as “overwhelming.” They have not spoken with the NHL to work together, but Kane is “hopeful and eager” that this conversation will take place in the weeks to come.

Things are moving fast, but not this quickly. After all, it’s only the second day. The alliance’s website is expected to be up and running in the next 10 days, Kane said, and documents have already been filed to formalize the group’s charity branch.

Kane hopes and hopes to work with the league, but said the alliance will work independently. This is a group committed to real change – rather than waiting for others to take their case.

“We are giving ourselves the means to control what we plan to do,” said Kane. “We don’t want it to be something that looks good or is checked off. We want to clearly establish new policies across hockey, at all levels.

“We want to help create a more diverse game, a more diverse fan base, and make everyone feel comfortable when it comes to our game.”



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