Over the weekend, the Carnegie Initiative held a summit in Toronto, gathering big names from around the hockey world to both celebrate and speak on inclusion in the sport. Named after recent Hall of Fame inductee Herb Carnegie, whose legacy is being carried on by his family, the Carnegie Initiative held a number of symposiums on Saturday featuring some very interesting panels.
One such talk was a forum entitled Creating Sustainable Change, hosted by Sportsnet's Donnovan Bennett. He was joined by new Hockey Canada Chair Hugh Fraser, NHL senior executive VP Kim Davis, Team Trans founder Daniel Larson and U-16 Toronto Young Nats forward Ajay Rai....
Early on in her tenure with the NHL, she reached out to Dr. William Frey of the Brookings Institution, someone she had known from her days in the financial sector. Davis asked Frey to look at the Gen Z and Millennial demographics in every NHL market, and his research found that in 23 of the 31 markets (this was in 2019, before Seattle joined), those groups were so multicultural that calling them 'minorities' wasn't even mathematically accurate.
Which is to say that if the NHL and the hockey world at large wants to keep bringing in new fans, the sport has to make sure that all communities feel welcome.
"It's really going to be a missed opportunity if we don't embrace different communities that will be important for our future," Davis said. "We want a movement, not a moment."
Davis, whose own son stopped playing hockey in the Chicago area due to racist taunting, noted that it's not just outward acts of hatred that can turn someone off the game, but that hockey needs to be "culturally available" and explicitly inclusive. She used the analogy of someone walking past a building filled with people having a good time - it's not enough for those outside to just be able to look through the windows; someone needs to open the door and welcome that person in to join in on the fun.