Women’s hockey is in its offseason, but now is the time for the organizations and teams to be working towards enacting change in how hockey reacts and responds to racial injustice, police brutality, and the ongoing civil rights movement.
The sport is no stranger to using their united voice to create change. In the last five years, players in North America have actively done so in labor spaces.
The US National Team did so in 2017 when they went on strike ahead of the World Championships to demand more from USA Hockey. The PWHPA is currently trying to create a sustainable professional league.
Now women’s hockey has a chance to do more and be more, especially as the hockey community sees the NHL fail in this arena.
All of women’s hockey, and hockey in general, should be watching and learning from the WNBA, who have been the leaders in all of sports in using their platform as professional athletes to keep the Black Lives Matters movement at the forefront of all conversations. They should be following action steps set out by organizations like Black Girl Hockey Club and extending it out to fundraising collaborations, featuring them on their platforms, and working with them year-round. Resources like Dr. Courney Szto’s “Policy Paper for Anti-Racism in Hockey” and Jashvina Shah’s “Stick to Sports” podcast also exist.
When teams return to play, Black Lives Matter and anti-racism messaging being built into the programming should just be step one. I hope we see real action by teams, leagues, and organizations to empower Black players and their voices and strive for justice in the sport and in their communities
Women’s hockey has strived to truly make hockey for everyone but if that’s not done with intersectionality at the forefront, then it’s failing.