The Hockey Diversity Alliance announced Wednesday that it will “operate separate and independent of the NHL” after months of negotiations with the league.
“The Hockey Diversity Alliance is grateful for the support from the public we received. Unfortunately, the support we hoped to receive from the NHL was not delivered and instead the NHL focused on performative public relations efforts that seemed aimed at quickly moving past important conversations about race needed in the game,” the organization said in a statement.
The HDA is composed of nine current and former NHL players of color. The organization was spotlighted in the Stanley Cup playoffs during moments that acknowledged protests against racial injustice and police brutality. That included HDA board member Matt Dumba of the Minnesota Wild opening the Western Conference postseason with a heartfelt speech while wearing an HDA shirt as members of the Edmonton Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks surrounded him.
In August, the HDA published an eight-point pledge it asked the NHL to make, with requests ranging from hiring targets for hockey-related personnel to funding for grassroots initiatives.
“We have waited many months for a response to the common sense HDA pledge we proposed, and it is clear that the NHL is not prepared to make any measurable commitments to end systemic racism in hockey. While we are disappointed, the HDA will operate separate and independent of the NHL and authentically implement necessary education programs and changes to the sport and seek to be role models for the youth in BIPOC [Black, Indigenous and people of color] communities who want to play hockey,” the HDA said in a statement.
In September, the NHL announced a series of initiatives to combat racism and increase inclusion in the sport. One of them was a “first-of-its-kind grassroots hockey development program to provide mentorship and skill development for BIPOC boys and girls in the Greater Toronto Area,” which was the only initiative that formally partnered with the Hockey Diversity Alliance.
The NHL also announced four committees to confront the issues of racial inequality from different perspectives, including a Player Inclusion Committee (PIC) co-chaired by New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban and NBC Sports analyst Anson Carter and composed of current and former NHL and Women’s National Team players.
Speaking on the ESPN On Ice podcast this week, Subban said he was excited to work with the NHL and acknowledged that his committee and the HDA are working toward the same goals.
“There are always going to be multiple people fighting the fight, that want to eradicate racism, and everyone is going to have a different way. Malcolm X and Martin Luther King didn’t always see eye to eye, but they had an impact in their own way,” Subban said. “I think in the sport, we’re all after the same thing, and that’s about continuing to build our game, improve our game, make it more inclusive and make it more welcoming at all levels. There are a lot of moving parts in change.”
A request for comment from the NHL was not returned.