By 98.5 The Sports Hub Staff
Several prominent minority hockey pros have formed an independent group called the Hockey Diversity Alliance, whose stated mission is to “eradicate racism and intolerance in hockey.” Sharks winger Evander Kane and former Flames forward Akim Aliu have been appointed the co-heads of the organization.
You can read the full introductory press release for the HDA in the tweet below from Aliu. In addition to Kane and Aliu, players who put their signature on the release include the recently retired Joel Ward, Sabres winger Wayne Simmonds, Wild defenseman Mathew Dumba, Flyers winger Chris Stewart, and Red Wings blue liner Trevor Daley.
“We will strive to be a force for positive change not only within our game of hockey, but also within society,” the press release reads. “Although we will be independent of the NHL, we are hopeful that we will work productively with the league to accomplish these important changes.”
The Hockey Diversity Alliance also aims to “promote diversity at all levels of the game” through outreach and engagement with local communities. The group has already partnered with a “charitable fiscal sponsor” that will launch various charity initiatives in the coming weeks.
In Boston, Ward is known for an incident in which he received a flurry of tweets containing racial slurs from fans, after he scored the series-winning goal for the Capitals that eliminated the Bruins from the playoffs.
Aliu hasn’t played in the NHL since 2013, but has been outspoken on issues of racism in hockey in recent months. In November he went public with accounts of racist incidents with former Flames head coach Bill Peters, who resigned days later. He recently penned a story in The Players Tribune on racism and other issues in the sport called “Hockey Is Not For Everyone.”