NHL Looking To Up Diversity After Finding 84% Of Employees Are White

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The National Hockey League (NHL) announced it will be launching initiatives to increase diversity and inclusion after a study found that 84% of its workforce is white.

This isn’t exactly surprising considering 90% of the league’s players are also white, as are most coaches, general managers, officials, and fans.

Still, the league wants to do something about it.

This data was part of a baseline study to help the league formulate a diversity and inclusion strategy.

Kim Davis, the NHL’s executive vice president of social impact, growth, and legislative affairs talked about the study alongside NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

“The whole purpose behind doing a workforce study is to provide a baseline: a fact-based baseline so that you can begin to develop very intentional and specific strategies around where you need to hire, how you need to hire, how you need to improve your brand.”

Davis also mentioned the league is happy with the survey finding that 38% of the league’s workforce is made up of women.

The league will also be handing the data they collected from their survey of 4,200 league and team employees to the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport. The institute gives out grades for leagues based on their hiring processes.

Bettman stated that the league’s report will be used to create policies and programs “that will produce the greatest impacts in the years to come.”

NHL Nick Foligno Willie O'Ree Skates
Nick Foligno — then with the Columbus Blue Jackets — wears skates with pictures of Hockey hall of Famer Willie O’Ree, often regarded as the Jackie Robinson of Hockey after becoming the first black player to break the NHL color barrier in 1958. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

NHL Already Has Diversity And Inclusion Programs In Place

The NHL has been making diversity and inclusion pushes for years. The main struggle is that hockey has always had trouble making breakthroughs along socio-economic lines. Some of the plans are aimed at doing just that.

Davis mentioned that some of the points outlined in the league’s report are already being implemented.

“A number of those steps are already in progress,” Davis said. “You can’t expect to recruit (Black, Indigenous and people of color) folks to work in the league if you don’t at the same time have your stadium fan code of conduct underway so people feel like the sport is really serious about growing the fan base.”

There’s no doubt the league’s fanbase needs to grow, but every league would say that. No one would ever say, “Nope, what we need is fewer butts in seats and eyes on TV.”

Still, it seems like the NHL is self-flagellating for not being diverse enough, even when it meets the mark according to standards used to judge other leagues.

The Philadelphia Flyers and Tampa Bay Lightning face off in NHL action.
The Philadelphia Flyers and Tampa Bay Lightning face off in NHL action. (Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Population statistics are often used to determine whether a group of people — be it a corporation or a movie cast — is “properly” diverse. However, more often than not, when we talk about sports, we use the player population.

If the league’s workforce (at least racially) aligns with the player population — a measuring stick the NFL is often criticized for not meeting — what is the concern?

If you go by that, the NHL is doing fine.

Which begs the question is this an actual attempt at diversifying intended to grow the league and the sport of hockey at large? That’d be a good thing, to help the league continue to bring new talent, fans, and revenue.

Or is it just another example of the kind of lip service leagues and corporations unveil to keep left-wing mobs at bay?

Honestly, who’s to say?

It can be tough to tell these days.

Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle

Written by Matt Reigle

Matt is a University of Central Florida graduate and a long-suffering Philadelphia Flyers fan living in Orlando, Florida. He can usually be heard playing guitar, shoe-horning obscure quotes from The Simpsons into conversations, or giving dissertations to captive audiences on why Iron Maiden is the greatest band of all time.


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  1. White people will be fans of sports regardless of the color skin of the participants. But the overwhelming number of Black people will not watch a sport that has a majority of Whites playing it. If I stated that I don’t watch basketball (which I stopped doing because of the racists playing it) because not enough players look like me (White) I would be called racist. If a black person says they don’t watch hockey because there aren’t enough brothers, liberals go, “Oh, yeah, I get that, perfectly understandable “.

  2. This is the underlying lie of the diversity, equity, and inclusion crowd. All they care about is the cosmetics, as in the color of one’s skin. According to the DEI proponents, the NBA is the “most diverse” professional sports league even though 73% of its players are black. If anything, the NHL is the MOST diverse professional sports league in North America as it has the most diverse athletes from around the globe. But since national origin doesn’t mean anything to the party of tolerance, you get this kind of thinking.

    • The one good news about the recession, is hopefully that ends all of this. Easy for companies to be woke when they are showing record profits. When the bottom line starts to hurt, those BS roles paying big bucks to do nothing but make Twitter happy, go away.

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