NHL finds workforce is over 83% white in diversity and inclusion report

The NHL released the findings of its inaugural diversity and inclusion report on Wednesday in what it calls a
The NHL released the findings of its inaugural diversity and inclusion report on Tuesday in what it calls a "good start" to diversifying the makeup of the league. (Yahoo Sports Canada)

During the board of governors meeting on Tuesday, the NHL released the findings of its inaugural diversity and inclusion report, revealing that just over 83 percent of its employees are white.

A 24-page document titled "Accelerating Diversity & Inclusion" was shared at the meeting, the byproduct of the work done by the NHL’s Executive Inclusion Council.

As per the report, the NHL’s workforce is 83.6 percent white, 4.17 percent Asian and 3.74 percent Black. Fewer than 2.5 percent of employees surveyed did not answer.

"This is a good start, but nobody is taking a victory lap," Kim Davis, the NHL's executive vice president of social impact, growth and legislative affairs said via ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski. "We did this because we wanted to put a stake in the ground. Being transparent and being held accountable isn't as scary as it may have felt three years ago. I hope that [the governors] see that their leadership matters. Going back to talk to their C-suite executives about this has made a difference."

As far as we’ve been reporting on the NHL and the intersection of race and hockey, this is the first comprehensive report ever submitted by the league, so to Davis’ point, no one in their right mind would be reasonably taking a victory lap for submitting a report that ought to be mandated by the league’s subcommittees.

The NHL cited the hiring of San Jose Sharks general manager Mike Grier, along with the hiring of five women as assistant general managers as positive steps. Representation surely matters, but it is merely a tiny step in the process towards true progress for a league that has so often paid lip service in this arena.

The league famously refused to meet the demands listed by the Hockey Diversity Alliance in trying to create a partnership working towards racial progress and the eradication of racism in hockey. In turn, the HDA parted ways with the NHL in October 2020, over what they deemed to be performative action on the league’s part.

Davis spoke about the nebulous concept of doing better, without yet offering any tangible roadmap. As for the report itself, Davis said that the NHL teams have been receptive to solutions about anti-racism in hockey.

“I think this is, for so many of us, a blind spot around how one part of the community can admire the group and another can fear the group, and the two can both be true according to their vantage point," Davis said. "As we've talked to clubs about this, they have listened and many of them have learned to do better. It's a complicated [issue], but people are open to hearing and understanding how perceptions can be reality for those who we're trying to make comfortable and feel welcome in our sport."

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