Andrew Ference was my introduction to many things beyond the hockey world that affect the hockey world, Ken Dryden wrote some of the literature I’ve read and Brock McGillis is one of the many people I follow on Twitter.
That’s just a few of them, but there are many others like Marisa Ingemi, Ryan Clark, Eric Stephens, Amalie Benjamin, Jashvina Shah and Hemal Jhaveri, just to name some more.
I’m sure people will be bringing up the conversation surrounding specialty jerseys and tape in NHL games as they already have and will again someday.
I, for one, have no problems seeing whatever specialty jerseys in warmups and would encourage that players at least use whatever tape they feel like to coincide with that night or support that cause throughout the season a la Kurtis Gabriel’s use of Pride Tape in his career.
(Yes, I know, let’s abandon the traditional “don’t use ‘I’ statements” in op-ed pieces for a moment.)
Want to use Pride Tape? Use it in game. Not just warmups.
Want to use camouflage tape on Military Appreciation Night? Use it in game. Not just warmups.
Want to use purple tape on Hockey Fights Cancer Night? Use it in game. Not just warmups.
Don’t just put away tape after warmups if tape— of all things— is so often changed from game-to-game, stick-to-stick, broken stick-to-broken stick or whatever.
That said, the league needs to do a better job at distinguishing special nights.
Hockey Is For Everyone Night is nice in theory, but you cannot lump every cause into one, especially if it’s only the causes you’ve yet to show proof you care about beyond the brand image.
Hockey Is For Everyone Night should be a February thing, coinciding with Willie O’Ree puck drop ceremonies and Black History Month.
That is the night when you address why it took 60 years to put O’Ree in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2018, after he broke the NHL’s color barrier in 1958.
Pride Night shouldn’t be slapped under the same banner (or worse, see the St. Louis Blues watch party). The Carolina Hurricanes had Pride Night done right this season and went an extra step on their social media to value the autonomy of every LGBTQ+ human being. Take a page from them.
(I’m not opposed to being bribed for the play-in/playoffs with any leftover Pride scarves you guys might have, Canes, fully knowing that this isn’t the place or time to be asking for free things.)
How can you accomplish these event nights and promote diversity within and without your organization? Hire minority candidates in executive positions and create things like Pride Committees and Black Hockey History Committees.
As we have seen from Akim Aliu, J.T. Brown, Evander Kane, Wayne Simmonds, Kurtis Gabriel, Andrew Ference, Brock McGillis, Ben Scrivens, Braden Holtby, Patrice Bergeron, Blake Wheeler, Logan Couture, Ryan Miller and other allies (I know I did not name them all here, but if you’re one of them I missed out on, please do not feel forgotten— continue to use your voice), I can only hope more players, coaches, front office members and retired players will continue to speak up, speak out and listen.
Racism exists. Fight it. Prevent it. Put an end to it.
Black Lives Matter. Police brutality exists.
Yes, there are good cops, but the current overarching “justice” system negates their spotlight where credit is due. That can be fixed and the good cops that truly serve and protect their communities— their entire community, white, black, Latinx, straight, LGBTQ and all— will rightfully see their time when the system is overhauled.
As long as there is no true Justice, it is an Unjust system.
Please register to vote if you aren’t already registered (U.S., Canada) and, most important, complete your entire ballot. Vote for your executive branch and legislative branch, but do not neglect your attorneys general, sheriff and others.
Nobody should have to die and yet, here we are, addressing murder after murder under the law of “innocent until proven guilty”.
We spend the majority of our days listening rather than speaking, but in actuality, we’re only hearing unless we’re actively listening— and hearing and listening are two different things.
Hearing is knowing that your mother is yelling from downstairs for you to get out of bed because the bus is coming and you’ll be late to school if you miss it, but you roll over and continue to sleep anyway.
Listening is hearing that your mother is yelling from downstairs for you to get out of bed because the bus is coming, getting up, getting dressed for school and making the bus on time to go to school and learn.
Kim Davis is doing wonderful work as the NHL’s Executive Vice President, Social Impact, Growth Initiatives and Legislative Affairs.
Practice doesn’t make perfect and the reality of things is that it often takes many attempts before landing something that sticks.
But practice does make better and with enough practice, things can and will be better— it’s the commitment to that practice and the followup that must follow through that matters.
The National Hockey League and its member clubs can do better.
USA Hockey can do better. Assistant Director, Hockey Operations, John Vanbiesbrouck needs to go.
Hockey Canada can do better.
The American Hockey League and its member clubs can do better.
The ECHL and its member clubs can do better.
The International Ice Hockey Federation can do better.
Beer leagues can do better. EA Sports can do better.
If you’ve ever grabbed a hockey stick, watched the sport or played the video game— you can do better.
That means all of us must learn and grow as we so often do in every other aspect of our lives.
If you’re a player, you once had to learn to skate. That took time, effort and many stumbles, but you got better over the years.
There’s no excuse for not being better as a person.
You’ve already done it in so many other ways, what’s one more important thing that doesn’t just occur on the ice?