USA Hockey hires its first director of diversity and inclusion
Like most hockey organizations these days, USA Hockey realizes the importance of attracting a wide variety of participants to the sports.
That’s why it has hired Stephanie Jackson as USA Hockey’s first-ever director of diversity and inclusion.
“It’s an important step to embark on as an organization to have someone focus on diversity and inclusion,” said USA Hockey senior communications director Dave Fischer.
He added that the organization only added a question about race on its applications this past season and does not yet have the breakdown of the responses, so it does not have any stats on the what percentage of individuals of color make up of its membership.
Jackson most recently worked for Nike, Inc., where she worked in diversity and inclusion communications, advising senior leaders and executives. Before that, She served as a social work graduate intern with Adidas Group and The NFL Players Association in Washington, D.C., where she focused on community development initiatives, organizing communications on sensitive subjects including race/class/gender, and mental health and wellness efforts for athletes.
Before that she spent three years in strategy and process improvement consulting with a tax firm in Dallas, Texas.
“It’s exciting. She just started yesterday, and I got the chance to meet her,” Fischer said. “It’s pretty cool.”
He said USA Hockey not only wants to make hockey more attractive to African Americans but to all people of color.
“There are challenges with our sport for people of all backgrounds, whether it’s social, not being close to a rink or the cost,” Fischer said.
There has been an increase in the number of players of color, as well as coaches and officials, at all levels of the game in the last 25 years or so.
At any given time in the NHL, there are 20-30 players of color. That’s about the same number of players from each of Russia and Finland in the league at any given time.
But there have also been several much publicized incidents where players of color, particularly African Americans, have experience racial taunting, especially at the Youth levels.
Racial and ethnic taunting are prohibited in USA Hockey’s rulebook.