Photo: The canadian Press / AP
A travelling exhibition devoted to the history of minorities in hockey since Willie O’ree (pictured), which opened the path in 1958, will make his debut at Madison Square Garden in New York on Saturday.
The NHL celebrates the Month of Black history for the first time, focusing in February on racial diversity in the sport as part of its extensive campaign, ” hockey is for everyone “.
The league and the players association, the NHL announced the joint initiative on Friday morning. It includes a travelling exhibition devoted to the history of minorities in hockey since Willie O’ree, who opened the way in 1958. The exhibition will make its debut at Madison Square Garden in New York on Saturday.
In the framework of this initiative, “hockey is for everyone” will continue throughout the year. The month of march will be the month of equality between the sexes, and there are plans to add the recognition of the hispanic heritage and the First Nations for the next season.
There are about 20 black players currently in the NHL. The vice-president responsible for the social impact, growth initiatives, and legislative affairs, Kim Davis, pointed out, however, that there is a strong representation of minorities among young people.
“I think a goal like this during the Month of Black history will help the cause of many children of color who already practice our sport, said Davis. I think we underestimate often the pool of talent already involved in our sport. “
USA Hockey has only recently begun to compile data on the ethnic origin of the players. It would thus take some time before you know if this sport is predominantly white at its highest level is gaining ground with minorities. Davis added that another goal is to educate all the fans on the players ‘ contribution to non-whites in the history of hockey.
O’ree, who has been working since 1996 as an ambassador of diversity in the NHL and director of youth development, says he is proud that the league celebrates Black history and noted progress in the number of minority children practicing hockey during the past two decades.
The defender Seth Jones of Blue Jackets of Columbus, one of the many black players to be the subject of a video this month, said : “important discussions and points of view will be shared in the framework of the celebration of the Month of Black history. “
The defender P. K. Subban, of the Predators of Nashville, the attacker Evander Kane, San Jose Sharks, and the members of the hall of fame Grant Fuhr and Angela James will also be among the guests.