The league talks a good game but it’s January action doesn’t back it up.
When University of Central Florida Professor Richard Lapchick releases The 2022 Complete Racial and Gender Report Card, the National Hockey League will surely get a D grade or maybe an F, as in failure. The NHL came up rather small in January in the diversity department. Lapchick is the director for The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at UCF and is attempting to hold professional leagues, collegiate and amateur sports accountable in hiring diverse and inclusive staffers. On January 17th, the Philadelphia Flyers organization held a Pride night. Flyers players wore Pride-themed jerseys and used sticks wrapped in rainbow tape during the 20-minute warm up. All the players were on ice for the warm up except one. Defenseman Ivan Provorov was in the dressing room boycotting the team-sponsored activity. Generally players who refuse to take part in a warm up are not going to dress for a game. But Flyers management excused Provorov on religious grounds. Provorov claimed he respected everybody’s choices.
The NHL has been for a decade supporting the You Can Play Project, which aims to ensure equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation. But that support can now be questioned. Presidential politics and campaigning eroded a planned “Pathway to Hockey Summit,” in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on February 2nd. The NHL had hoped to attract “diverse job seekers who are pursuing careers in hockey.” But Florida Governor Ron DeSantis who on a daily basis is trying to marginalize a certain segment of the population perhaps in anticipation of a 2024 presidential run objected to the NHL summit. NHL owners after all are big political donors. The NHL spin machine decided to appease DeSantis and now is attempting to reach out to people who don’t know much about hockey. Lapchick’s report won’t be favorable to the NHL.
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