Former NHL player Akim Aliu and Sharks forward Evander Kane have announced on Monday that they have formed a group to address and eradicate racism in hockey.
The duo will serve as co-heads of the new group, and its executive committee includes Wild defender Matt Dumba, Sabres forward Wayne Simmonds, Red Wings defender Trevor Daley, Flyers forward Chris Stewart and recently retired NHL player Joel Ward.
They all took to social media to announce the establishment of their new organization.
The seven current and former players outlined several of their goals in the news release.
“We will promote diversity at all levels of the game through community outreach and engagement with youth and will endeavor to make the game more affordable and accessible. We will also focus on educating the hockey community about the racism issues confronting the sport, while advocating for acceptance and equality. We have partnered with a charitable fiscal sponsor and we will be launching a charitable division in the coming weeks to assist us in achieving our objectives.”
Hockey is one sport which is overwhelmingly dominated by white. Recently, it has struggled with numerous incidents of racist behavior from players.
Aliu revealed in 2019 that he’s dealt with racism in hockey for years, and, according to the Wall Street Journal, that’s what originally spurred Aliu and other minority players to discuss forming an organization to fight racism in hockey.
The killing of George Floyd while in police custody and the subsequent worldwide protests sped up their timeline, leading to the announcement on Monday.
The Hockey Diversity Alliance is independent of the NHL, but it would like to work with the league “promote diversity through all levels of the game.”