“If we’re going to make a difference through all the levels of our game, we have to be setting the example at the NHL and club level.” – Commissioner Gary Bettman
“It was a proud time for our sport and a watershed moment because of the allyship.” – Kim Davis on the NHL’s Pause in Play to Fight Social Injustice
Stanley Cup Final Game 3 – Dallas Stars vs. Tampa Bay Lightning – Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN – Series Tied 1-1
STAMFORD, Conn. – Sept. 22, 2020 – NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHL Senior Executive Vice President, Social Impact, Growth Initiatives & Legislative Affairs, Kim Davis, joined NHL on NBC analyst Anson Carter for a conversation on diversity and inclusion in hockey on the latest episode of NBC Sports’ Hockey Culture, an initiative led by Carter, dedicated to bringing equality and inclusion to the sport of hockey.
Bettman, Davis and Carter discuss a number of topics, including the NHL’s pause in play in late August during the playoffs to fight social injustice, how to increase diversity and inclusion in the sport of hockey and how they hope to see progress within the sport in the next five years.
Highlighted quotes from the conversation are below:
Bettman on the pause in play to fight social injustice and unrest: “The players came together and thought it would be appropriate to pause and we were very supportive of that, but we had believed all along that in order for a pause to be meaningful, it really had to be at the initiative and will of our players, who wanted to make a statement as opposed to the league saying we are simply going to shut down for two days…I know there was a lot of focus on what we did or didn’t do, but I was very comfortable that what we were doing was responsive to what our players wanted. As we’ve been saying all along, if we’re going to make a meaningful response to fight racism and support social justice and we want our players to get involved, it’s got to be all of our players across the board.”
Davis: “I think our approach was appropriate because if you look at the history of sports, any social movement in sport, has been led by players. Particularly, in my opinion, in our sport, which is predominantly white, we need allies…for this to be a movement and not just a moment, we have to have the advocacy of all players. For me, it was a proud time for our sport and a watershed moment because of the allyship.”
Davis on inclusion within the sport of hockey: “You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been and where you are. Having a baseline of understanding and being led by data and analytics is the way we run our business, and this is part of running our business well…being far more transparent and vocal about the things we have done and the things that we will do to ensure that our game continues to be strong and that we build stronger and more vibrant communities.”
Bettman: “If we’re going to make a difference through all the levels of our game, we have to be setting the example at the NHL and club level.”
Bettman on what progress he hopes to see in the sport in the next five years: “To me, progress looks like we become more reflective of the communities in which our teams play. That there are black players, players of both sexes, players of color, that we are more diverse than we have been…I want to make sure that anybody feels comfortable and welcome to play hockey or being part of the hockey family at any level of our game.”
Davis on what progress she hopes to see in the sport in the next five years: “Five years from now, I want hockey to be on the lips of boys and girls of color just the way soccer, basketball and baseball is on their lips. Something that they see as accessible and something they see as they want to do…that we no longer have to worry about racist comments and kids not feeling like they can take advantage of hockey without some incident of discrimination. That’s my personal vision as a mother, grandmother, as a black woman, for the sport of hockey, that everyone feels like it is a sport for them.”
NBC Sports continues its exclusive coverage of the 2020 Stanley Cup Final featuring the Dallas Stars and Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Tampa Bay evened the series at one game apiece on Monday night with a 3-2 victory in Game 2.
Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick, Eddie Olczyk, and Brian Boucher will have the call along with Pierre McGuire providing reports and player interviews. Pre-game coverage starts at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN with NHL Live, hosted by Kathryn Tappen with analysts Keith Jones, Anson Carter and Patrick Sharp.