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Sharks' Kane: NHL doesn't market minority players enough

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports / USA TODAY Sports

San Jose Sharks forward and Hockey Diversity Alliance co-head Evander Kane believes the league does a poor job of promoting diversity.

"As minorities in the NHL and coming through hockey, we've been undervalued and we've been overlooked," he said Monday during a video call with the committee, per UNINTERRUPTED. "It's baffling to me that that's still going on. And it's gone on ever since I've been in the league."

Joining Kane on the call was fellow co-head and former NHLer Akim Aliu, filmmaker Charles Officer, and members of the executive board: Wayne Simmonds, Trevor Daley, Matt Dumba, Nazem Kadri, Chris Stewart, Anthony Duclair, and Joel Ward.

"I look at the group that we have here on the screen, and it's concerning," Kane continued. "You would think that you would want to use us and present us as minorities in such a white sport in a great light and use it to your advantage to create a more diverse game because that, at the end of the day, is what is going to sell."

Kane thinks the NHL's lack of diversity is part of the reason why its the least profitable league among the four major sports.

"You look at other leagues like the NBA and the NFL and how diverse they are and why they are generating significantly more revenue than our league. Because I'll be the first person to tell you hockey is by far the greatest game. It's the hardest sport. I think we as athletes deserve to get paid the most. And why is it that we aren't? Part of that issue, and a big part of it, is because we are not a diverse sport."

NHL players made an average of $2.69 million in 2019-20, according to Statista, trailing behind the NBA ($8.32 million), MLB ($4.03 million), and NFL ($3.26 million).

The greatest discrepancy is seen among each sport's highest-paid athletes.

Sport Player AAV
NBA John Wall $42.8M
MLB Gerrit Cole $36M
NFL Russell Wilson $35M
NHL Connor McDavid $12.5M

(Salary source: Spotrac)

The Hockey Diversity Alliance was created on June 8 to help combat racism in hockey and in society as a whole.

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