(L to R) Anthony Duclair, Matt Dumba, Wayne Simmonds, Nazem Kadri, Akim Aliu © Budweiser Canada
By Allie Murray
Working towards eliminating racism in hockey, the Hockey Diversity Alliance (HDA) is sharing an important message: this game is for us all.
Led by a founding team of Canadian NHL stars, the Hockey Diversity Alliance was formed by NHL players of colour who saw an immediate need to organize and create a platform to end racism and intolerance in hockey.
The HDA started the new year off strong, teaming up with Budweiser Canada to launch the #TapeOutHate campaign. The #TapeOutHate campaign was inspired by HDA members’ collective and personal experiences dealing with race and its role in hockey. To drive visibility for the campaign, Budweiser Canada designed a special roll of hockey tape featuring the campaign slogan, with $1 from each roll going towards supporting the HDA. The campaign was met with unbelievable support: selling out the rolls of tape in six hours.
When planning the #TapeOutHate campaign, five of the founding members—Akim Aliu, Nazem Kadri, Anthony Duclair, Wayne Simmonds, and Matt Dumba—sat in a circle in a dimly lit locker room and were asked to share their experiences with racism in sport. Expecting the recording to last no more than half an hour, the players were stunned when the director called cut and they had been speaking for nearly 90 minutes.
“It’s completely different when you’re a white player,” Dumba said in the video. “People still don’t understand that.”
Since selling out, the tape restocked online and is now available at Canadian Tire stores.
The HDA was founded by current and former NHL players of colour in the wake of George Floyd’s death in May 2020 to raise awareness about racism in hockey and encourage BIPOC players to get involved in the sport.
Reflecting on his career, Aliu commented on the first time he was racialized, concluding on how it followed him through his professional career until his retirement in 2020.
“I was ten years old when an opposing team member’s parent called me a racial slur on-ice for the first time,” he explained. “[January] marked 64 years since the first Black professional hockey player—Willie O’Ree—made his NHL debut, and yet, acts of racism towards Black players remain prevalent at all levels of the sport. By showcasing a snippet of the real, lived experiences of racism the BIPOC community faces when trying to play a game that we love, we hope to inspire a groundswell of change, because racism has no place in hockey.”