Our Statement on Diversity and Inclusiveness in Hockey

PWHPANews, Press Release

[September 2, 2020] ​- ​George Floyd, Trayvon Martin, Ahmaud Arbery, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Breonna Taylor, Jacob Blake. The list goes on…and on. We continue to witness heinous acts of violence surrounding police brutality, racial profiling, systemic oppression as well as numerous other social injustices. The countless lives unjustly lost have shaken our communities to the core.

The members of the PWHPA are committed to anti-racism work and education while advocating for more diverse and inclusive communities through hockey. While we are not a professional league, we stand wholeheartedly with our sisters in the WNBA and we will follow their leadership and their activism. We support the actions of the other professional leagues and players’ associations that have followed suit.

Hockey is a predominantly white sport. We must use our platform to change that – to truly make it a sport for all. We must ensure that every human being feels welcome, both in and outside of the rink. We must create and support efforts to make hockey more inclusive across the board.

We have been asking ourselves some difficult questions about the hockey community: Are we providing these inclusive and welcoming environments for all people in hockey — on the ice? In the locker room? In the broadcast booth? In a media scrum? In front offices? At team dinners? On bus rides? Are we reaching out and sharing the sport of hockey with all communities? Are we seeking out and hiring BIPOC individuals to be a part of our hockey organizations? Are we showing the next generation that hockey welcomes everyone?

The answer is no. Our love for the sport is simply not enough; hockey culture needs to be better. Our statement is late but our intention was to walk the walk before we talked the talk.

Sarah Nurse preparing for action at the PWHPA Dream Gap Tour Secret Showcase in Toronto, January 2020. (photo: Lori Bolliger)

We immediately addressed one of our biggest blind spots with representation to our leadership. We are proud to welcome Sarah Nurse to the PWHPA board. Sarah’s accomplishments as a player are as impressive as her voice she uses to advocate for equality for all women in sports. While Sarah was the first Black woman to play ice hockey in the Winter Olympics, she praises Angela James, the first black woman on Team Canada and in the Hockey Hall of Fame, for the trail she blazed. Sarah’s voice will be an important one, not just for the PWHPA board, but for the future of the sport.

Additionally, all members and staff of the PWHPA will be taking part in mandatory Fundamentals of Diversity and Inclusion Education. We want to encourage our supporters to join us in our anti-racism efforts and amplify BIPOC voices to ensure our sport is truly for everyone.