January 22, 2021 –Briana Mastel, a defender with the NWHL’s Boston Pride, shares a quote from the author and activist Ibram X. Kendi:
“The heartbeat of racism is denial.”
Mastel goes on to say, “When it comes to ending racism, I believe everyone has a personal responsibility to acknowledge one’s own implicit biases. Being anti-racist is a choice one makes every day, that is guided by courageous conversations and continuously educating oneself. It’s never too late to take action to create positive change.”
The National Women’s Hockey League and the members of the NWHL Players’ Association acknowledge that the league and the sport of hockey have a long way to go in the fight against racism and to make the sport more inclusive. As part of ongoing efforts for equality by the league’s 120 players across all six teams, they will wear a patch that declares “End Racism” throughout the NWHL season that begins Saturday in Lake Placid. An example of the patch is in the image at right of Tori Howran, a first-year defender with the Connecticut Whale.
“The NWHLPA stands firmly against racism of all kinds, and is proud of the legacy our BIPOC players and alumni have created in Women’s Hockey,” said Anya Packer, Executive Director of the NWHLPA. “The world today is fractured, but in the NWHLPA we will continue to educate our athletes, leverage our platforms, and drive meaningful action to make hockey a more diverse and inclusive space. We want our stance to be clear, so we are proud to wear End Racism patches.”
“The National Women’s Hockey League supports every player, coach, and staff member in any peaceful action they may decide to take in the fight against racism,” said NWHL Commissioner Tyler Tumminia. “We wanted a message to be appearing every second of every game this season. After a series of discussions, the Players’ Association suggested a clear message on every uniform – End Racism. We are united with the players on this initiative and everything that NWHL teams and players do for equality and representation. Make no mistake: hockey has a long way to go, and we will continue to do the work.”
The NWHL season begins Saturday, Jan. 23, and culminates with the Isobel Cup Final on Feb. 5. All games take place at the 1980 Rink-Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, New York.
NWHL Player Statements
Kaycie Anderson, Connecticut Whale: “I am proud to wear the End Racism patch on my jersey. Furthermore, as a diverse player, I am proud to be a member of a league that is communicating loudly that we will not tolerate acts of hatred or racism and seek only to contribute to and be the change our world needs. This season I wear this patch for my indigenous grandmother, my African, Cuban grandfather, and every individual who has experienced racism in their life. I stand with you and with my family and I am here to be a part of the change.”
Saroya Tinker, Metropolitan Riveters: “As a current Riveters rookie and NWHL Player of Color, I feel supported by both my teammates and league. Our End Racism campaign has brought forth the opportunity for uncomfortable, but important conversations to be had amongst teammates, coaches, and the NWHL staff. With this, I am confident that each and every individual understands the history and importance of bringing these systemically ingrained issues to the forefront as we continue to use our platforms for good as professional athletes. As a Black player in the league, I know my voice is being heard we strive to make the hockey community an inclusive place for all no matter what race, gender, or ethnicity.”
Whitney Dove, Buffalo Beauts: “Being a player of color in the NWHL I will be a part of the change that we strive to see in raising awareness about racism and inclusion in our sport. I’m proud to be among the other athletes in this league that are passionate about this issue, and I stand behind our message in making hockey a more comfortable and enjoyable environment for everyone.”
Rebecca Morse, Metropolitan Riveters: “As a co-chair of the NWHLPA’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee, I’m incredibly proud to see an overwhelmingly positive response to the League’s End Racism campaign from our players, staff, partners, and various other stakeholders. While racial injustice is a widespread issue that extends beyond North America, I believe that I can make the biggest impact by using my platform to promote change across women’s hockey and help shift the culture as an ally to the BIPOC community. One of the reasons why I continue to play hockey professionally is that I want to leave the sport better than I found it. Hockey should be a welcoming and inclusive space for everyone, but the sad reality is that it’s not at the moment. My goal is to help eliminate barriers to entry into the sport and highlight the people and organizations who align with this goal. We all must create an environment in which every single person feels like hockey is for them.”
Mikyla Grant-Mentis, Toronto Six: “It’s amazing to see the league take a stand for something that sadly is still a significant problem in our society. Having the End Racism patch on every team’s jersey conveys a clear message that the league is United in the stance against ending racism.”
Tera Hoffman, Metropolitan Riveters: “As professional athletes, we have a unique platform to combat injustice. I hope wearing the End Racism patches on our jerseys helps to remind our fans and everyone that this sport is bigger than us. In fact, hockey is often inaccessible to People of Color, and it is our job to help foster a more inclusive atmosphere so every person with the dream has the opportunity to truly succeed at playing the highest level of hockey possible. Furthermore, it is essential that we continue to learn about our ignorance, and ensure that we are doing everything we can as players to make a positive change in the league.”
Brooke Stacey, Buffalo Beauts: “Whether anyone decides to stand or kneel, the Buffalo Beauts and the NWHL are united in our goal to contribute in the mission to end racism. Racism is very prevalent in the U.S. and Canada, and it must end. All people deserve to be treated equally with respect and dignity.”
Allie Thunstrom, Minnesota Whitecaps: “Over the past year especially, the work and determination of our BIPOC teammates, some leaders in the women’s hockey media, and others to make our sport more inclusive has been on tremendous display, and I applaud and thank them. We realize and accept that the work here is not done and we want to do everything we can to educate ourselves and others of the implicit biases that exist all around us. We will always have differences – within every group there are differences – and that is what makes people unique. But what all of us in the NWHL share is our deep love for the game. We must collectively focus on ensuring that all are welcome in our game.”