A group of hockey players of colour have formed the Hockey Diversity Alliance in an effort to combat racism in the game.
The group announced its formation in a statement released Monday.
San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane and former NHL player Akim Aliu were named co-heads of the group, while Buffalo Sabres forward Wayne Simmonds, Minnesota Wild defenceman Matt Dumba, Detroit Red Wings defenceman Trevor Daley, Philadelphia Flyers forward Chris Stewart and recently retired forward Joel Ward make up the executive committee.
The group said in its release that its mission is “to eradicate racism and intolerance in hockey.” It will be independent from the NHL but hopes to work with the league.
Racism in hockey was brought to the forefront last year with allegations made by Aliu against then-Calgary Flames head coach Bill Peters. Aliu said Peters directed racial slurs at him when both were with the same minor-league team a decade ago. Peters resigned as Flames head coach shortly after the allegations were made public.
Aliu followed that up by penning a Players’ Tribune article last month where he said change in hockey is needed at a grassroots level.
Kane called for fellow NHL players to speak out on racial inequality after the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed in Minneapolis when a white police officer put a knee on his throat for nearly nine minutes.
More than 100 players have since used their platform to speak on Floyd’s death and the ensuing protests in the U.S. against police brutality and racial injustice.