NHL Must Rethink Inclusion

By JD Lagrange – Here we are again, in the middle of controversy because of warmup jerseys. This battle is a lose-lose situation for the NHL and instead of serving the purpose that it’s supposed to serve, it is turning into singling out players because of their beliefs and turning into hate comments. That’s NOT what these inclusion days are supposed to be about.

Unless I’m missing something, aren’t those events supposed to bring everyone together? It is failing miserable, and I’d venture to say that it’s creating even more distance between people with different beliefs. It is doing the opposite of what’s it’s intended to do…

First and foremost, let’s make something crystal clear. It is very, very important that NHL teams, their management, coaches and players are all accepting and respectful of others around them regardless of their race, religion or sexual orientation. And the league and teams have a responsibility to ensure that it is happening within their confines, and severely punish any actions going against inclusion.


Yet, there is a solution… if only sports leagues and teams really wanted to resolve this and please everyone. And it wouldn’t be hard to do either.

Instead of singling out minority groups by having a Black History day, a day for Native-Americans, a Pride day, and so on… Why not hold a day, periodically, as “Inclusion day” instead? In the promos, insure that this day includes all minorities or groups that you want to target… but not one over the other.

Hold these events once a month, or once every two months, or on set dates across the NHL. Create the same jersey for all teams, like they do for the night celebrating our veterans in uniforms with the camouflage version.

And truthfully, if the league did that, I don’t believe any player would choose to opt out. The league would avoid putting its players – and teams – on the spot, and the real purpose would be achieved. People would be talking about inclusion instead of pushing more hater from media and fans alike.

By the way, I absolutely love the Canadiens’ logo created by artist Amélie Lehoux for the team’s “Pride night”. That logo is more inclusive and representative for more than just those with a different sexual orientation. A slight modification could include some native art, black people, etc. It would be a true inclusion logo.


You see, think of icebergs. Only 10% of an iceberg is visible on the surface, leaving 90% out of sight. But rest assured, it is there and it is massive!

So while the NHL should acknowledge their commitment to inclusion, only 10% of it should be visible and the real deal, the real work, is what’s done behind the scene. Anything short of that is for show only, to portray an image, to look good.

We must ask ourselves, what is the goal here? By definition, being inclusive is not separating and singling out groups. The true goal is to promote inclusiveness. The message should be that everyone is in this together as a whole, without differences. The “pride” should not be to be gay, black, native or muslim. It should be that we are all human beings, accepting of each other’s differences.