Akim Aliu, Evander Kane to lead newly created Hockey Diversity Alliance

Akim Aliu, Calgary Flames, NHL. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Akim Aliu, Calgary Flames, NHL. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /

The Hockey Diversity Alliance is a black player lead organization independent of the NHL.

Some of hockey’s biggest names have come together to create a new hockey initiative, the Hockey Diversity Alliance. On Monday, Akim Aliu, Evander Kane, Trevor Daley, Matt Dumba, Wayne Simmonds, Chris Stewart and Joel Ward all co-signed a statement that was released on Twitter about the formation of the organization. Aliu and Kane will lead the organization, while Daley, Dumba, Simmonds, Stewart and Ward all make up the executive committee.

In the announcement, the players state the organization’s mission statement, which will be “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.”

The statement also mentions that the Hockey Diversity Alliance is independent from the NHL itself, but is hopeful to work with the league on making these important changes.

The NHL has responded to the creation of the Hockey Diversity Alliance, with executive vice president Kim Davis issuing this statement.

The Hockey Diversity Alliance will advocate for much-needed change

The organization’s focus will be on advocating for diversity across all levels of the game, working towards making the sport of hockey more accessible to minorities, while also educating the hockey world on racism in the sport. The Hockey Diversity Alliance has reportedly been months in the making, according to TSN’s Frank Seravalli, with players having talked about the idea as early as December. Membership is also available to all who share the same goals.

That timeline lines up with Aliu meeting with league commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly to discuss the Bill Peters racism situation that came to a head in the fall.

The Hockey Diversity Alliance comes at a time of division within the NHL. The death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police in late May has sparked a groundswell of support for the Black Lives Matter movement and against systemic racism and police brutality. Hockey has yet to truly grapple with its racism problem, and the league’s statements in the wake of the recent protests must also result in action to be taken seriously.

It remains to be seen what the role of black women in hockey will be in the Hockey Diversity Alliance, but Metropolitan Riveters player Saroya Tinker of the NWHL is interested, as is the Black Girl Hockey Club.

As of its announcement, no white hockey players have joined the Hockey Diversity Alliance either.

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