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Volume 21 No. 31
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Davis to grow NHL community, social efforts

The NHL will ask its latest hire to continue the growth of its community and socially focused programs and initiatives.

“The last few years we’ve tried to do a great deal in terms of reaching out to communities, being inclusive and getting more people at the grassroots levels involved in the game,” Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “We’ve made great strides, but I wanted us to be in a position to take things to the next level.”

The league last week hired Kim Davis as executive vice president of social impact, growth initiatives and legislative affairs. Davis, who spent more than 20 years at JPMorgan Chase, where she most recently served as managing director of global CSR and president of the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, joined the league from Teneo, where she ran the firm’s corporate responsibility and inclusive leadership practice.

Hockey Fights Cancer is on Davis' agenda.
Davis recently spent six to seven months as a consultant to the NHL, working primarily with the league’s corporate responsibility team, as well as with other league and team executives, to review the league’s community and social efforts. Bettman said that as part of that evaluation, he thought the league could use greater bench strength and expertise in these areas. When Bettman and NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly discussed with Davis whether she could help identify candidates to fill that role, they quickly determined Davis would be the best option.

Bettman said that initiatives such as Hockey Fights Cancer, NHL Green and the Learn to Play programs have been individually successful, but that unifying programs such as the league’s corporate social responsibility efforts and inclusiveness in hockey under one executive will make all of them more effective.

Those individual initiatives had been overseen by various NHL executives, such as Jessica Berman, vice president of special projects and corporate social responsibility, or Pat LaFontaine, vice president of hockey development and community affairs. Davis will work directly with the NHL staff already assigned to these initiatives and have the ability to hire more in these areas, Bettman said.

Daly said Davis also would bolster the effectiveness of the NHL Foundation.

Learn to Play expected to be even more successful with Davis on board. 
“The league stands at an opportune moment to take the incredible work it has done to a new level,” Davis said. “When you look at how North America — and even the world’s — demographics are changing, how the sport is able to interface in communities and help build them and contribute to society, these are all things that increase fandom.”

Davis, who will begin her new role Dec. 4 based in New York, also will look to deepen relationships with federal legislators. The league has had lobbyists in the past and has built out programs like the Congressional Hockey Challenge, which pits legislators, staff and administration officials vs. lobbyists in a charity hockey game.

Davis said she spent a significant amount of time at JPMorgan speaking on Capitol Hill. “I believe we can better partner with a lot of folks on the Hill to find ways hockey can even more positively impact their constituencies,” she said.