Well I’ve noticed that there seems to be an underserved group of players in the NHL. I’m talking about black hockey players. Despite the fact that 73 percent of the NHL players are of color, the percentage of black players hovers around 10 percent and often less.
It’s a bit of a head-scratcher. Hockey is one of the most diverse and inclusive sports out there. After all, it was founded in Canada, and Canada has a great history loving acceptance and inclusion of people of all backgrounds. So why aren’t there more black players in the NHL?
For one thing, it’s difficult to break into the game. Hockey is an expensive sport–equipment isn’t cheap nhl jerseys–and cost is a major factor in how successful a player is. Players from more economically privileged backgrounds have better access to better training and coaching, and that gives them an edge.
But it’s not just about money. Despite the fact that the NHL has gone to great lengths to promote diversity, inclusivity, and breaking down stereotypes, it can still be hard to be a black player in the NHL. Some players have spoken out about the racism they’ve experienced from both on and off the ice.
That’s why it’s so uplifting to see successful black players in the NHL, like Willie O’Ree, the first black player to ever make it to the league. His famous “I am Canada” moment was the inspiration to open up the hockey world even more.
It’s disheartening, though, when there are still only a handful of black players in the NHL. People have a right to participate in sports regardless of their background, and that’s true in hockey, too. It’s important that the NHL continues to make diversity and inclusion a priority and give all players a chance to make their mark.
The next step is definitely expanding the black player base in the NHL. There are some initiatives in place partnering organizations with local rinks and teams that help subsidize the cost of joining a hockey team. There can’t be enough of those programs to get more black kids playing the game.
In addition, the NHL should continue promoting programs such as their Hockey is for Everyone campaign, which provides kids with hockey sticks, skates, and jerseys at no cost so they can try out the game. And measures need to be taken to address the culture of racism within the game itself.
The nhl shop is a global business and can be a major force for good if it uses its platform to fight racism and foster a more diverse and welcoming culture. After all, hockey is supposed to be a unifier and a source of joy. There should be room for everyone to play, regardless of their background.