Seven current and retired black NHL players have formed the Hockey Diversity Alliance, an independent group seeking to eliminate racism and intolerance in hockey, the players announced Monday.
Former NHL defenseman Akim Aliu and current San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane will serve as co-heads. The executive committee includes Detroit Red Wings rearguard Trevor Daley, Minnesota Wild blue-liner Matt Dumba, Buffalo Sabres winger Wayne Simmonds, retired forward Joel Ward, and Chris Stewart, a veteran winger who plays for the Philadelphia Flyers' AHL affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
Members of the new organization spoke with Colin Kaepernick in video calls in recent weeks, according to TSN's Frank Seravalli. Those involved called the conversations "very powerful" and said Kaepernick offered support and guidance.
The alliance plans to combat racism in society as a whole, as well as within the hockey world.
"Although we will be independent of the NHL, we are hopeful that we will work productively with the league to accomplish these important changes," the players said in a statement.
Aliu has been at the forefront of the movement in hockey since revealing former head coach Bill Peters' past use of racial slurs toward him. Peters resigned from his position with the Calgary Flames in late November, and Aliu met with the NHL to discuss inclusion in early December. The league later pledged to better address "unacceptable" conduct.
Kane has been the most vocal NHLer regarding racial injustice. He called in May for more white athletes to speak up in the wake of George Floyd's death in police custody. Numerous players of varying backgrounds subsequently did so.
NHL executive Kim Davis said Friday the league will create four committees to help address diversity issues across all levels of the sport.