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Volume 26 No. 65
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NHL Joins Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative For Diversity Efforts

King (c) hopes a women's hockey league becomes sustainable in many cities and maybe countries

The NHL has "joined the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative to expand 'Hockey is for Everyone,' a campaign run by the NHL and its players association to promote inclusion on the ice, in locker rooms, boardrooms and the stands," according to Lance Lysowski of the BUFFALO NEWS. The league announced the partnership following yesterday's inaugural "Declaring our Principles -- Advancing Equity: A Summit on Inclusion," in Las Vegas. The partnership will "support research, action, advocacy and collaboration with organizations that have a significant community impact." Sabres co-Owner Kim Pegula, along with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, will "co-chair the league's first-ever Diversity and Inclusion Senior Leadership Council" (BUFFALO NEWS, 6/19). In Las Vegas, Ron Kantowski notes a handbill was placed on each seat at the yesterday's summit "along with a foam puck [that] outlined the mission statement of the partnership." It read, "From the locker room to the board room, we understand that our future is linked to the continued development and promotion of women in all aspects of our sport." King, who was on hand for the event, said, "The NHL is an amazing opportunity. Different sports, same story. That is my prayer for women’s hockey. That some day we’ll have a league that is sustainable in many, many cities and maybe countries, and that girls can have a (hockey) dream, too” (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 6/19).

DIVERSITY REPORT: The AP's Aaron Beard noted the annual report card from The Institute for Diversity & Ethics in Sport "indicated almost identical scores from last year" for the NBA. The grade for "racial hiring was an A-plus with an unchanged 98.7 score." The grade for gender hiring was a B, but "slid slightly to 80.9." The overall grade was an A at 89.8. That was better than MLS' B+, the NFL with a B and MLB with a B-. The NHL "doesn't participate in the study." The only pro league with a "higher grade from the past year was the WNBA," with an overall A+ and 97.6 score. The report was "particularly good for the NBA league office." It earned an A+ for racial hiring with 37.6% of professional staff positions "filled by people of color, the highest percentage recorded in the study." Women "made up 39.7% of those positions" for a gender grade of B+. Those were "both better than scores for the team level, where people of color made up 31.6% of team management positions [still an A+] and women filled 30.9% of those positions for a gender grade of a C" (AP, 6/19).