Skip to main content
A scary good deal on trusted journalism
Get full digital access to globeandmail.com
$0.99
per week for 24 weeks SAVE OVER $140
OFFER ENDS OCTOBER 31
A scary good deal on trusted journalism
$0.99
per week
for 24 weeks
SAVE OVER $140
OFFER ENDS OCTOBER 31
// //

New Jersey Devil defenseman P.K. Subban will become an ambassador for Hockey For All, a new initiative established to promote diversity and inclusion at all levels of the game.

Jeffrey T. Barnes/The Associated Press

P.K. Subban is about to begin his 12th full year playing in the National Hockey League. He has been awarded the Norris Trophy as the league’s best defenceman. He was an alternate captain of the Montreal Canadiens and currently serves in the same capacity with the New Jersey Devils.

“Hockey has given a lot to me,” Subban said Monday. “The fact that it has provided a platform for me to speak on a lot of issues is what I am most grateful for. I have my own opinions on how I would like to see hockey change. What I am happy about is that there is a lot of conversation about diversity and inclusivity.

“We need the sport to be more culturally aware and accepting of those who don’t traditionally look the part. We aren’t there yet, but we are getting closer every day.”

Story continues below advertisement

On Tuesday, Subban will be introduced as an ambassador for Hockey For All, a new initiative established to promote diversity and inclusion at all levels of the game. The program, unveiled on the opening day of the season, has received $2-million from Scotiabank to promote hockey from the grassroots level across Canada for the next 12 months and will be supported by the NHL, the Hockey Diversity Alliance, Hockey Canada and numerous other partners.

“The program started from a deep understanding that racism is a real problem everywhere,” Laura Curtis Ferrera, Scotiabank’s chief marketing officer, said. “We felt we were uniquely positioned to be a force for good. The Hockey For All platform is one way to shine a light on what is happening in [the sport] and to make it more inclusive.”

A poll conducted by Angus Reid in May found nine of 10 Canadians believe hockey provides a sense of identity and community. However, two-thirds of those who participated and coached or played said the game has a problem with inclusion and bullying, and 88 per cent said organized hockey is too expensive.

As a result of that, Hockey For All will concentrate on two distinct areas: cultural and financial.

“Scotiabank believes there is a place for all Canadians in hockey; however, we also believe the game has a distinct opportunity to more closely reflect the rich and diverse culture of Canada and to be more open,” Ms. Curtis Ferrera said.

Financially, the program will provide monetary assistance to players, teams, leagues and organizations in underrepresented communities.

“The idea of being able to provide resources is important, but what is most important is that the resources intentionally be made available to where they are going to go to the best use,” said Kim Davis, the NHL senior executive vice-president of social impact, growth initiatives & legislative affairs. “We want to see a sport and a society where a kid has the choice to choose whatever they want to do.”

Story continues below advertisement

Subban, who is Black, said he did not experience much racism as he learned to play hockey at the youth level in Toronto. It happened more often when his team would travel elsewhere within Canada or to the United States.

“Whether it is in hockey or not, everybody has had those times where they were made to feel uncomfortable,” Subban said. “We see it a lot in minor hockey. Nowadays, only an idiot in the pros would say something and think they could get away with it.

“One thing I want to make clear is that I don’t think people are educated about what racism is. It is more than just words. It is actions, including being made to feel that you know your place. Several times in my career I felt that I was held back because of race.

“Racists come in all shapes and sizes. They are smart people like me and you who were raised differently.”

Education is part of the Hockey For All platform, and Subban is glad to be involved.

“Scotiabank has invested a lot in hockey and understands the movement,” Subban said. “If you ask some people they would say that $2-million is not all that much. What is more important than that is the message that is being sent and what you stand for.

Story continues below advertisement

“This is just the start. Everybody is still learning how to be part of the solution. We can choose to be divisive, but I always want to be part of the answer.”

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies