This week in hockey has, however, been about more than just sport.

Last Friday and Saturday, the Stars stood alongside the Hockey Diversity Alliance and players from across professional sports and refused to play their scheduled games.

This was an unexpected step in hockey, a sport that has often refused to engage fully with wider social justice movements.

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The Hockey Diversity Alliance was formed earlier this year in response to both the emergence of stories of the struggles of players of color like Akim Aliu (if you haven’t read the Player’s Tribune piece by Aliu linked in the above tweet) and the wider Black Lives Matter movement.

THDA have asked the NHL for the following commitments:

  1. Increase the number of black employees at all levels in the NHL
  2. Ensure procurement of an inclusive and diverse supplier base
  3. Ensure that the voices of black players are heard
  4. Implement anti-racism training for league employees at all levels
  5. Create zero-tolerance policies to abolish racial discrimination and abuse
  6. Not to support, partner or accept support and racist organization
  7. Transparent communication to the HDA of policies, targets, and commitments
  8. Commit to funding HDA programs and initiatives. 

Most of the above points would seem obvious to any progressive organization, however, the NHL has too often shown itself to slow to modernize and embrace efforts to diversify the sport. By embracing the HDA, and other grass-roots organizations like the wonderful Black Girl Hockey Club the hope is that hockey becomes bigger, better, and more inclusive and to quote the catchphrase of the You Can Play Project “If You Can Play, You Can Play”.

We know the Stars have already lost season ticket holders and sponsors over their support of the movement but if that is the price of not only doing the right thing but also growing the sport in an inclusive and sustainable way, it would seem a price worth paying.

Featured Image: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
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