The National Hockey League, all of its teams, and the NHL Players’ Association announced Wednesday that in February they are putting their focus on community-related actions for Hockey Is For Everyone. It is the 19th year of the initiative which encourages diversity and inclusion in the world of hockey.
This campaign works with the You Can Play Project, a non-profit organization helping the LGBTQ community across sports. The HIFE project affirms the official policy of the game is one of inclusion and respect for every person.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman commented on the league website, “Our Clubs, our players and our fans are committed to welcoming everyone to hockey. While the NHL family strives for diversity and inclusiveness all year long, February is Hockey Is For Everyone month, which will highlight, on a daily basis, the many ways our sport brings greater attention, heightened awareness and broader opportunities.”
For the Pittsburgh Penguins, 23-year-old goaltender Matt Murray stepped forward to be the Black and Gold’s ambassador in continuing the progress of understanding and diversity. He recognized the opportunity to offer his help.
Murray told Michelle Crechiolo on the team’s web page, “I feel for those who don’t feel included, so it’s just about trying to promote that inclusive environment,” he said. “No matter where you are in life and no matter who you are. There’s still a lot of things to improve on and there probably will be for a long time. But it’s about taking those steps towards it and always progressing towards that idea of what you want things to be like. It’s like how I always say with hockey too, it’s kind of a day-by-day, step-by-step thing to try and get to that.”
Here is the list of the players who are accepting the challenge to lead the way in their communities and be an advocate for the underrepresented, marginalized or disadvantaged.
Your 2018 Hockey Is For Everyone Ambassadors For Each Team:
Anaheim Ducks – Corey Perry
Arizona Coyotes – Oliver Ekman-Larsson
Boston Bruins – Brad Marchand
Buffalo Sabres – Ryan O’Reilly
Carolina Hurricanes – Trevor van Riemsdyk
Columbus Blue Jackets – Seth Jones
Calgary Flames – Matt Stajan
Chicago Blackhawks – Tommy Wingels
Colorado Avalanche – Gabriel Landeskog
Dallas Stars – Tyler Seguin
Detroit Red Wings – Justin Abdelkader
Edmonton Oilers – Jujhar Khaira
Florida Panthers – Aaron Ekblad
Los Angeles Kings – Dustin Brown
Minnesota Wild – Charlie Coyle
Montreal Canadiens – Andrew Shaw
Nashville Predators – Kyle Turris
New Jersey Devils – Andy Greene
New York Islanders – Casey Cizikas
New York Rangers – Mats Zuccarello
Ottawa Senators – Dion Phaneuf
Philadelphia Flyers – Claude Giroux
San Jose Sharks – Chris Tierney
St. Louis Blues – Carter Hutton
Tampa Bay Lightning – Alex Killorn
Toronto Maple Leafs – James van Riemsdyk
Vancouver Canucks – Henrik Sedin
Vegas Golden Knights – Pierre-Édouard Bellemare
Washington Capitals – Braden Holtby
Winnipeg Jets – Jacob Trouba
These players are joined by NHL Officials, Shandor Alphonso and Dave Jackson, as well as six additional ambassadors. They are former SFC. Joseph Bowser of the U.S. Army, Harrison Browne of the NWHL, Hockey Hall of Famer Angela James, Josh Pauls – Captain of the U.S. National Sled team, Fred Sasakamoose – the first indigenous player in the NHL, and broadcaster Harnarayan Singh.