In the topsy-turvy world in which we witness national athletic clubs with revenues in the billions, more are delving into deeper political waters every day.
The NBA recently opted to cancel itself from playing, all in the name of racial equality…with a specific view at the officer-involved shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin on August 23, 2020.
Today, the National Hockey League is solicited to join other sports clubs in refashioning their playing fields, courts, and rinks with iconic markings such as “Black Lives Matter” painted on the grounds and/or the rafters, etc.
The NHL players newly-devised Hockey Diversity Alliance, a Calgary, Canada-based formation consisting of nine NHL players whose mission it is to “eradicate systemic racism and intolerance in hockey,” compiled a list of demands which they’d like to see implemented league-wide.
Among the aforementioned list of demands, the traditional blue line demarcation on the ice rink design may become a “black line” symbolizing “racial equality.”
In an August 27 press release offered by the Hockey Diversity Alliance (HDA), the following “Statement of Injustice” was put forth:
“The Hockey Diversity Alliance is deeply saddened by the Jacob Blake shooting – yet another example of police brutality against Black Americans that continues to go unabated and unaddressed in the communities where NHL teams play.
Earlier today, the HDA formally requested that Commissioner Bettman and the NHL suspend all playoff games today to allow players and fans to reflect on what happened and to send a message that human rights must take priority over sport.
Since forming in June 2020, the HDA has sought partnerships with the NHL and minor hockey leagues throughout Canada and the United States. We asked the NHL to sign the HDA Pledge which includes commitments to funding grassroots programs for BIPOC youth, funding impactful social justice initiatives, anti-racism education, targets for hiring and promoting Black individuals and businesses, and rule changes to make the culture of the game more inclusive.
We hope to be in a position to announce an agreement in respect of the Pledge commitments before the end of the playoffs.”
Per the The Post Millenial, here is HDA’s list of demands:
- Team owners offer NHL rinks to be used as polling stations for the upcoming US election
- NHL should be fully transparent about “all information related to the policies, targets and commitments” related to the hiring of employees who are visible minorities.
- NHL to commit to funding $100 million dollars over 10 years to battle “systemic racism.”
- NHL make a statement by temporarily changing the blue line to black.
- NHL to run PSAs for the HDA during the playoffs this summer.
- NHL to have on-ice presence of the HDA logo.
- HDA has also proposed “Black out” warm up jerseys to help build awareness of their organization and its agenda. Later to be auctioned off to raise money for their cause.
There is no mention of changing hockey’s traditional “red line” to any other color. Also, wouldn’t changing the classic blue line to a black line pose a disadvantage (albeit instantaneous) for players trying to isolate and gain control of the ordinarily black puck as it crosses (gets lost upon) the newly proposed black striping?
The National Hockey League administration has not yet commented on the HDA’s requests.