New Products: Diversity & Equality
To speak candidly, it’s hard to know where to begin on this topic, both as a matter of documenting my feelings, and how we approach the overwhelming task of rectifying centuries-long injustices of discrimination and inequality in America. What I do know is that while the hockey community, along with the nation, are just starting to scratch the surface of addressing racism, it feels like a time of reckoning for both that has the opportunity to affect real change.
Many of the great things about hockey – the traditions, the team-first mentality – are also attributes that lead to this moment being so long overdue. In a predominantly white sport with little diversity among coaches and front office leaders, and where the culture so often demonizes those who go against the grain, it shouldn’t be a surprise (albeit still disappointing) that this moment took as long as it did.
But watching the Western Conference’s remaining teams stand together behind Nazem Kadri, Pierre-Édouard Bellemare, Ryan Reaves, Jason Dickinson and Bo Horvat last week felt different. As Reaves himself said, “I think if you look around this room, there’s a lot of white athletes in here, and I think that’s the statement that’s being made right now,” adding “I go to war with these guys, and I hate their guts on the ice. But I couldn’t be prouder of these guys. The statement that they’ve made today is something that’s going to last. These two days isn’t going to fix anything, but the conversation and the statement that’s been made is very powerful, especially coming from this League.”
As a team of four Caucasian designers, race and social issues aren’t normally something we tackle on this site, and like the NHL players stepping away from the game for two days, we know that anything we say or do won’t single-handedly end racism. But we also know that using our platform, supporting BIPOC organizations, and utilizing the tools we do have as designers to promote change can still make a difference.
We’re releasing a collection of special merchandise in the HbyD market designed by myself and our editor John van der Woude with all proceeds benefiting Black Girl Hockey Club and the Hockey Diversity Alliance, two organizations doing tremendous work to diversify the game of hockey and its community. Whether or not you purchase these products, we encourage all of our readers to follow and support these organizations in their efforts to make the hockey world a more inclusive and accessible place.
About Black Girl Hockey Club:
The mission of Black Girl Hockey Club is to inspire and sustain passion for the game of hockey within the Black community, specifically with our mothers, sisters, daughters and friends. To prevent exclusion in hockey based on race, gender, sexuality or ability in the face of institutional racism, financial gatekeeping and program access, the Black Girl Hockey Club provides education, scholarship opportunities and community spaces that will give Black women access to hockey.
About the Hockey Diversity Alliance:
Our mission is to eradicate racism and intolerance in hockey. We will strive to be a force for positive change not only within our game of hockey, but also within society. Although we will be independent of the NHL, we are hopeful that we will work productively with the league to accomplish these important changes. We believe in the importance of accountability in developing inclusivity and diversity for all involved in our sport, including fans and the league office.