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Volume 27 No. 10
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NHL's Davis Touts League's Inclusion Plan Despite Recent Incidents

NHL Exec VP/Social Impact, Growth Initiatives & Legislative Affairs Kim Davis said the league had already been "spending time developing a three-to-five-year strategic plan around culture and inclusion, long before" the recent incidents of misconduct, according to Elliotte Friedman of SPORTSNET.ca. Davis said situations involving bullying and racism have "just accelerated both our timeline and our resolve" related to inclusion efforts. On whether hockey has a racism problem, Davis said, "I believe society has a racism problem. ... Are there cases and incidents of racism? Of course there are. But to say that the culture of hockey is racist, I think is inappropriate and I don't think it is accurate." Friedman noted at the NHL BOG level, hockey is "overwhelmingly homogenous." Davis said, "That kind of change at ownership level is going to be something that we're going to have to see over time. I think the bigger and more important opportunity exists in front office and coaching and all of those areas where we can now set the tone and begin to build pipelines of talent that, over the next 10 years, will influence locker rooms and will influence front offices and will influence the kind of talent that we have across the league." She mentioned that the Seattle expansion franchise as a "leader" in this aspect. Davis: "I've been having some hugely interesting conversations with a number of owners who really get that it's going to take them using their platforms to create these elite pathways for kids of colour." She added fans will "see in the next couple of years, a number of these programs, tested in different markets" (SPORTSNET.ca, 12/11).