Red Wings’ Daley among alliance fighting racism and intolerance
While it’s likely Trevor Daley has played his last NHL game, he could have a hand in influencing if and how the league and the game of hockey can move into a new era.
Daley and six other current or former black NHL players have formed the Hockey Diversity Alliance, a coalition with the goal of eliminating racism and intolerance in hockey.
The organization is independent of the NHL but hopes to work with the league in bringing about change.
The others involved are Evander Kane of the San Jose Sharks, former NHL player Akim Aliu, Matt Dumba of the Minnesota Wild, Wayne Simmonds of the Buffalo Sabres, Chris Stewart of the Philadelphia Flyers and the recently retired Joel Ward.
Kane and Aliu were named co-heads of the Alliance.
“We will strive to be a force for positive change not only within our game of hockey, but also within society,” the alliance said in a release. “We believe in the importance of accountability in developing inclusivity and diversity for all involved in our sport, including fans and the league office.
“We will promote diversity at all levels of the game through community outreach and engagement with youth and will endeavor to make the game more affordable and accessible. We will also focus on educating the hockey community about racism issues confronting the sport, while advocating for acceptance and equality.”
Daley, 36, is in his 16th NHL season and third with the Red Wings. The defenseman is in the last year of the three-year free agent contract he signed with Detroit in the summer of 2017. He will not be re-signed and most think he will retire after playing in only a combined 87 games over the past two seasons because of injuries.
He won Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 and 2017, after playing most of his career with the Dallas Stars. He also played with the Chicago Blackhawks.
While playing Junior hockey in the Ontario Hockey League with the Sault St. Marie Greyhounds in March of 2003, Daley was involved with a racial incident. His head coach and GM John Vanbiesbrouck – a Detroit native, former NHL goalie, U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame member and current assistant executive director of USA Hockey – referred to Daley, the team’s captain, using a racial slur. He subsequently resigned.
In November, Aliu revealed his experiences of racism in hockey. He said coach Bill Peters used racial slurs in his presence when they were with Rockford of the American Hockey League during the 2009-10 season.
The Red Wings hired Peters as an assistant coach in 2011. He was fired as head coach of the Calgary Flames shortly after Aliu’s revelation and is now coaching in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League.
More than 100 NHL players have voiced support of racial equality, and all but one NHL team (the New York Rangers) have released a statement condemning social injustice following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis on May 25.
“I’m really proud of the guys,” Donald Fehr, executive director of the NHL Players Association, . “They understand it’s an important moment. They understand what the issues are, at least in the grand scope. And they’re making their voice heard. Not everybody, but quite a lot. And that’s to their credit.”