NHL announces initiatives to combat racism, accelerate inclusion efforts

Friday, September 4, 2020

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The National Hockey League announced a series of initiatives on Thursday focusing on the fight against racism and a mandate to make hockey more inclusive.

"I think that would be great, make it more diverse," said Anthony Boradi of Broomall.

"Yeah, I think it's a good idea, I'm happy for them," said Madison Council of Darby.

The initiative would provide mentorship and skill development for boys and girls of color. It also calls for mandatory inclusion and diversity training, conversations on race, equality, diversity and an effort to build a more diverse business pipeline.

"I think that if you're opening up the possibilities through scholarships and gifting to people of color, that is fantastic," said Rachel Callahan of Drexel Hill.

Janell Berry says her son, Cameron, played hockey in Delaware County, Pennsylvania for Strath Haven in elementary and middle schools. She says he was the only African American child playing in the league. She is welcoming the new initiative.

"I think it's awesome, I think that we have a lot of talent and there's multiple sports that we're not represented, so I would love to see that," said Berry.

The initiative resembles the late Ed Snider's Youth Hockey Foundation. Since 2005, it has mentored and recruited more than 2,000 kids throughout Philadelphia.

"It was really his vision to make this sport available for all kids, regardless of their race, regardless of their gender, regardless of where they live," said Jan Koziara, vice president of the foundation.

The foundation currently has 55 kids in colleges and universities, and hundreds of alumni that have gone through the program and gone on to college.

"And I think what's really exciting for us is that those kids we coached are now coming back to coach the next generation," said Koziara.