Sabres’ Simmonds announces involvement in Hockey Diversity Alliance

The Sabres winger will serve on the group’s executive committee, along with six other Black professional hockey players

This morning marked the unveiling of a new “Hockey Diversity Alliance” consisting of current and former Black professional hockey players.

Akim Aliu, and former-Sabre Evander Kane will serve as co-heads of the organization, while Chris Stewart, Joel Ward, Matt Dumba, Trevor Daley, and current-Sabre, Wayne Simmonds will sit on the executive committee.

According to their press release, the group’s mission will be to “eradicate racism and intolerance in hockey”. In pursuit of that goal, the alliance will do their part to establish and promote diversity and community outreach initiatives. The release also indicated the establishment of a charitable giving campaign in the coming weeks.

Earlier this season, Aliu brought a great deal of attention to the racial inequality in hockey, citing several instances where he was subjected to racist behavior and abuse from both coaches, and former-teammates. Following the murder of George Floyd, Kane has made headlines as well, calling for white athletes to use their platform, and help champion for racial equality.

The introduction of this group of high-profile black hockey players should go a long way in making the NHL’s “hockey is for everyone” initiative more than just words. As of right now, they will operate independently from the league itself. That said, they hope to work closely with the NHL to help enact necessary change.

Update: According to Tara Slone of Sportsnet, the current group is preliminary, and will also include female members in the near future.