Where are all the ice hockey players of color? NHL apologizes for 84% white workforce

Analysis by WorldTribune Staff, October 19, 2022

Most of the players in the National Hockey League (NHL) are as white as the ice they skate on. What’s up with that?

According to the National Hockey League’s “Diversity & Inclusion” report on Strategies, Initiatives, and Progress released on Tuesday, 83.6 percent of the NHL’s total workforce is white. More than 90 percent of players and nearly all coaches are white men (or identify as such).

Their pronouns? That would be white/whitey.

Kim Davis, the NHL’s executive vice president of social impact, growth and legislative affairs (that is a real thing), claims that Tuesday’s report should influence “where you need to hire” and “how you need to hire” and that the report “is a good start, but there’s a ways to go.”

The race and gender report was produced by the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (again, yes that is a thing). The institute “assesses the racial and gender makeup of players and hiring practices of sports leagues by producing Racial and Gender Report Cards.”

The NHL’s grade was W for White.

The NHL declared it will use the data collected in the 24-page race and gender report to overhaul its hiring practices.

The data will be used to cultivate policies “that will produce the greatest impacts in the years to come,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said.

Currently, about 45% of NHL players are Canadian. Canada’s population is 86% white. Another 30% of NHL players are European (mostly Swedes, Russians, Finns, and Czechs), all largely white countries. Most of the remaining 25% are Americans.

In an Oct. 19 op-ed for the Washington Examiner, Zachary Faria noted:

“The stance that sports leagues are increasingly embracing is that white people need not apply. The NFL has been begging teams to hire black coaches as if skin color mattered more than whether a given coach is right for the job or not. Sports media then amplify this racial essentialism, shaming leagues such as the NBA if they don’t sufficiently discriminate against white coaches or players on behalf of black ones.

“The world of sports is supposed to be the most meritocratic of any of our cultural pockets. Instead, it is slowly becoming the most discriminatory, with sports media leading the charge and sports leagues dutifully following. It is not ‘progress’ for leagues to say they employ too many people of one race or ethnicity, regardless of what group we are talking about. This kind of overt racism is not a solution to the other kind — I doubt that most sports fans share the sports media’s perception that it is.”


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