New NHL Coalition Thinks League Has 'Inclusivity' Problem

John Simmons | June 28, 2023
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The National Hockey League (NHL) isn’t diverse enough for its players, so they decided to do something about it.

Former players Anson Carter and P. K. Subban are co-chairs of the “NHL Player Inclusion Coalition” that features 20 board members from a variety of “diverse" and “underrepresented” backgrounds, like black and LGBT communities. They have already raised $1 million to help organizations that try to make the game more inclusive.

According to ESPN, the members of this group have, in the past:

...led and contributed to initiatives that have included conducting inclusion experiences and educational sessions for NHL on-ice officials, rookies and minor professional hockey; bringing voice to diversity and inclusion issues impacting hockey on personal platforms and networks; and leading and supporting hockey events to connect with and inspire underrepresented youth.

So basically, it’s a legion of people who believe in the toxic diversity ideology and want to start a trust fund for organizations that spread this worldview to people within the game of hockey - all because it’s not diverse enough in their eyes.

But coalition member Ryan Reeves doesn’t care. He’s looking forward to seeing how this group will make the game of hockey more inclusive at all levels, from youth leagues to the NHL.

"The more diverse the group is, the more ideas that are going to come out of it," Reeves, who played for the Minnesota Wild last season, said. "I think that's the most important thing, is you have so many people from different backgrounds who played the sport, who haven't played the sport, who come from different cities, different cultures."

The underlying assumption this group believes is that hockey doesn’t do enough to welcome non-white players into the league. But if you do a little more digging to see why the NHL is made up of mostly white players and not people of color, their whole narrative falls apart.

Canada unsurprisingly has the highest level of representation in the NHL, with 41.4 percent of all professionals hailing from the land of maple syrup. The United States is second on that list, with 28.4 percent calling America home. Sweden, Russia, and Finland follow, with a smorgasbord of other European countries finishing the list (and one player is from Kazakhstan for good measure).

Related: NHL Commissioner: Players Won't Be Forced To Wear Pride Jerseys

What do all of these countries have in common?

First off, they’re all countries that consistently experience colder temperatures, or have players that come from regions that experience cold climates. People that live in these places would naturally create infrastructure for and participate in a sport that lends itself to the climate they live in. Which city would you expect to have a stronger hockey culture: Edmonton, Canada, or Atlanta, GA?

Let’s break down the United States’ level of representation a bit further as an example. Most American-born NHL-ers in today’s game were born in Minnesota, New York, Michigan, or Massachusetts. Those aren’t exactly tropical parts of the U.S. Russia, Sweden, and Canada aren’t your typical summer vacation spots either.

The other factor all these nations have in common is that they’re all predominantly white countries. That means the chances of the best players from these countries that make it to the NHL being white are going to be incredibly high. To go back to the U.S. example, the population of all four of those states is at least 66 percent white.

There’s nothing racist about that, and it also means the NHL doesn’t have an “inclusivity problem.” It's just a matter of geography, cultural trends, and a host of other factors that Reeves and this dumb coalition don’t want to consider.

It also seems they don’t want to recognize that even with these factors explaining the strong prevalence of white players in the NHL, black men are still making big impacts in the league. Keegan Kolesar just won a Stanley Cup with the Vegas Golden Knights. Anthony Duclair plays on the top line for the Florida Panthers, who won the Eastern Conference this year. Andreas Athanasiou just had a 20-goal season for the Chicago Blackhawks.

If these athletes want to give back to communities that don’t have the opportunity to play hockey without their financial help, that’s perfectly fine. But they also shouldn’t claim that the NHL isn’t “inclusive” or “diverse” enough and thus slander the league that gave them the opportunity to play a game for a living.


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