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HDA launches campaign to battle racism in hockey

The Hockey Diversity Alliance launched a new campaign over the weekend in partnership with Budweiser Canada looking to "advance an uncomfortable conversation," which is why there is "still racism in hockey," according to Pierre LeBrun of THE ATHLETIC. The HDA’s motivation: “make the game better for the next generation.” The new HDA campaign is called #TapeOutHate, with hockey tape bearing the slogan “being sold online” starting this past weekend at shopbeergear.ca and in Canadian Tire stores starting Jan. 22; $1 from each roll of tape sold “will go toward” the HDA for its fundraising initiatives. Wild D Matt Dumba said, “Budweiser [Canada] coming to us, at the HDA, and wanting to form an allyship was special in itself knowing that such a powerful player as Budweiser wanted to back our mission statement which is to eradicate racism from our game. It’s not on the priority list for a lot of corporations, it’s a hard topic to talk about. We really appreciate them sticking their necks out for us.” Dumba and Maple Leafs F Wayne Simmonds are joined by fellow HDA members former Flames D Akim Aliu, Panthers LW Anthony Duclair and Avalanche C Nazem Kadri in a commercial that is “raw and impactful,” featuring the players sharing personal stories. Simmonds: “We thought it was extremely powerful. And that it would help continue the conversation and help us gain some more allies.” Dumba said, “It’s going to hit people hard when they see that. But that’s the smallest extent of it” (THEATHLETIC.com 1/8).

NOT ON THE SAME PAGE: In Toronto, Dave Feschuk wrote as much as the HDA has “formed partnerships” with the likes of Budweiser Canada and Scotiabank, it has had “less luck building bridges with the game’s central power brokers." On the relationship, Simmonds said, “The HDA and the NHL don’t have a relationship, and I can honestly go as far as saying I don’t even think we have a relationship with the NHLPA. To me, I think that’s preposterous. If everybody’s trying to accomplish the same goal, I don’t understand why the NHL is not involved with what we’re doing. It makes no sense to me.” Feschuk wrote if Simmonds and the HDA are “looking for allies,” here is hoping they “find a nation willing to tape up its sticks as it takes up the fight” (TORONTO STAR, 1/8).

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