If you would like to sign the pledge now, we invite you to please fill out the short form linked here. The reasons for the pledge and pledge goals are highlighted below. Anti-racism work in hockey will take time and every action goes a long way. Your contributions to the movement are invaluable.
On August 27, 2020, the 2020 NHL Playoffs were postponed. A player-driven movement, guided by the Hockey Diversity Alliance, resulted in rescheduled NHL games. It happened one day after other major professional leagues, led by the WNBA and NBA, postponed theirs to focus attention onto the Jacob Blake shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
The delayed response from the NHL brings forth mixed feelings of both optimism and skepticism: Chris Watkins (@yolo_pinyato), detailed his thoughts on the current happenings in the NHL; Jashvina Shah (@icehockeystick) has worked tirelessly to effect change in hockey and detailed how her work and the work of other BIPOC are constantly taken advantage of; and Dr. Courtney Szto (@courtneyszto) reflected on how the NHL disappointingly passed on the opportunity to immediately show solidarity.
This is just a short list of the efforts and voices of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour) in the hockey community. It is by no means exhaustive, and there are immeasurable amounts of anti-racism work being done by BIPOC, from sharing their insights and opinions, to educating again and again. Having the work fall back onto the hands of BIPOC while others are either blissfully or maliciously ignorant cannot continue.
There are still people directly associated with the NHL who do not care or are willingly ignorant, including executives, coaches, and players. There are still fans who think politics should stay out of sports, but let’s get it straight: anti-racism is not a political view. There are still far too many people who refuse to listen, refuse to learn, and fully expect sports to continue as if they’re directly being catered towards.
“Sports are like the reward of a functional society.”Sean Dolittle, Washington Nationals pitcher
The time for change was yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Doing nothing makes the sport complicit. As fans of professional sports, we are privileged to have the free time, the disposable income, and the safety to watch and enjoy sports.
With that comes the responsibility of recognizing that there are clear disparities in each individuals entry into the sport of hockey. There are barriers at all levels that may not be immediately obvious, but throughout history these barriers have been used both intentionally and inadvertently to keep BIPOC out of the game. They need to be immediately addressed and abolished.
Abolishing systemic racism is an uphill battle, but as fans of hockey, we have the power to make meaningful change within the hockey community by being anti-racist. We’ve come up with a starting list of actions to use to rethink how hockey can approach anti-racism.
Please digest our message and see it for what it is: an open invitation to turn the beloved sport of hockey into a sport that people from all walks of life can enjoy.
A dedicated page on our website will feature the pledge goals and list everyone who has signed it. Over time, we hope to use this pledge as a way to keep track of some of the collective progress made by the hockey community. Signing the pledge goes hand in hand with immediate action.
We, The Win Column, invite you to join our pledge to take immediate action as hockey fans to learn more about anti-racist efforts that can directly impact the sport of hockey.
This pledge is just one way to start being a part of anti-racist efforts in hockey. It is designed to be a thoughtful entry point into an uncomfortable topic. We want to make actions simple yet thought provoking, and effective both immediately and in the long term.
There are four points that we believe can be turned into immediate action. They encompass different areas that involve personal growth and learning in anti-racism, as well as engaging with others to progress change in the hockey community as a whole.
These points, while written with hockey in mind, do remain true well beyond the hockey world, and we hope that this pledge acts as a catalyst for action.
- Educate yourself on what it means to be an ally both in hockey and away from hockey
- Accept that people can reeducate themselves as a part of their own journey with anti-racism
- Learn about injustice in hockey itself, including against Black and Indigenous players
Ways to educate:
- Read through articles and websites explaining anti-racism, including those from the individuals linked above and those linked on our Black Lives Matter page
- Find and follow people who do work with anti-racism efforts
- Read and digest new information on anti-racism efforts in hockey as it happens and identify areas that need work and improvement
- Demand hockey organizations take more active and meaningful roles in anti-racism
- Demand more from the individuals employed by hockey organizations, including management, coaches, and players
Ways to demand change:
- Contact hockey organizations at every level, i.e. Hockey Canada, NHL teams, minor league teams, youth leagues to create inclusive and safe spaces in hockey
- Have the courage to disagree and converse with your direct hockey network (e.g. friends and family, former and current teammates, coaches, etc.) and encourage their pursuit of genuine allyship
- Call out organizations that have actions or policies that go against anti-racism efforts
- Amplify the voices and opinions from BIPOC to expose their work to the greater hockey community
- Amplify the voices and opinions of allies in their support of BIPOC
Ways to amplify:
- Reading and sharing hockey work done by BIPOC at every level, i.e. players, media, bloggers, analysts, etc.
- Expand your social media network and engage with BIPOC in hockey
- Talking about the work of individual BIPOC with your peers and network
- Support the charities and organizations that uplift and support BIPOC communities and anti-racism within the hockey world and beyond
- Support youth in decreasing the barrier to entry for hockey
Ways to support:
- Donate fantasy pool money to charities
- Seek and find people in your community to directly help
- Discontinue support for organizations and individuals that are complicit or do not support anti-racism
Sign the Pledge
If you would like to sign the pledge, please fill out the short form linked here. Change starts with each one of us and your contribution to the anti-racism movement is important and recognized.
With the four areas listed in the pledge, our goal is to get signers to act on all of them. We understand that this process may take time, and results won’t happen overnight. The sum of all of our actions can effect practical change in the hockey community.
The strength of the pledge comes from individuals acting together. Please share the pledge with the people in your life. The hockey community needs to step up and show the rest of the sporting world that we’re serious about anti-racism. Let’s do this together.
The list of signers can be found at thewincolumn.ca/blacklivesmatter, along with other resources related to the anti-racism movement.
We are open to feedback, additional action points, and improving this pledge. If you have any feedback, questions, or concerns, please reach out on Twitter: @wincolumnblog, or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We would like to thank Dr. Courtney Szto, Dr. Sam McKegney, Ebby, and Sushmitha Karunakaran for their feedback and comments with the pledge.