On Monday, the NHL announced that players have formed the Hockey Diversity Alliance, which will work to "eradicate racism and intolerance in hockey." The group is comprised of seven current and former NHL players and will be led by San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane and former NHL player Akim Aliu, who will serve as co-heads of the organization.
In addition, Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba, Detroit Red Wings defenseman Trevor Daley, Buffalo Sabres forward Wayne Simmonds, Philadelphia Flyers forward Chris Stewart, and former Washington Capitals forward Joel Ward will serve as members of the Hockey Diversity Alliance.
According to an NHL press release, the group will "operate independently" of the NHL. However, NHL senior vice president of social impact, growth initiatives, and legislative affairs Kim David hopes that the Hockey Diversity Alliance can work with the league on important issues.
"We are supportive of all efforts that are intended to advance the role of our sport in society," Davis said. "We are hopeful that this alliance will collaborate with our NHL structured council and committees -- particularly the Player Inclusion Committee -- to bring ideas for change."
The Hockey Diversity Alliance was formed in the wake of citizens speaking out about racism following the tragic death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.
More than 100 players have taken to social media in order to use their platform to express their feelings on racial injustice. Davis has been in communication with several players about "how to create stronger player-to-player opportunities."
"All of this outreach has been initiated by the players, who have a lot of ideas about how to create stronger player-to-player opportunities," Davis said. "And I think that's what I'm probably most encouraged by, the calls where players. … You know, not everybody's going to tweet. Not everybody's going to be comfortable using social media as the way that they express their point of view with the current situations. But lots of ideas bubbling up from players."
The Hockey Diversity Alliance hopes to promote diversity throughout the hockey world.
"In creating our alliance, we are confident we can inspire a new generation of hockey players and fans," the Alliance said. "We are hopeful that anyone who puts on skates or sits in the stands will do so without worrying about race, gender or socioeconomic background (and) will be able to express their culture, identity, values and personality without fear of retribution."