The NHL’s team is based in North America, but the league has global influence. As a result, the NHL is increasing social change while creating more inclusive communities.
The NHL has come a long way in terms of diversity. When the league started, it was pretty much a Canadian, mono-ethnic sport. Currently, the league’s players are 93% Caucasian, with 7% being colored. The latter is nowhere near the minority statistics for the NFL and NBA, but it’s a step in the right direction.
If you are St. Louis Blues fan, you’ve probably heard of the North City Blues. If you have not, you may want to keep reading. North City is a wonderful program for African American children, with the goal of increasing diversity and access to the sport of hockey. Their adviser and head coach is Jamal Mayers, a former right winger who played for the Blues, Toronto Maple Leafs (his hometown team), Calgary Flames, San Jose Sharks and rival Chicago Blackhawks.
Mayers told STLPR: “Selflessness, dedication, hard work, perseverance – these are the qualities I want in all my children. And I think hockey is a great tool to teach children these life lessons and hopefully have some fun along the way.”
Mayers is right. Not only that, but he is also interested in helping these children learn life skills for the future. This is great because these kids are having fun, building relationships and staying out of trouble.
Mayers stated, “Try it. Succeed. Have fun. Meet new people and experience something unique. It’s pretty cool to come down to the Enterprise Center.
From 2020, St. Louis 43.9% white (42.9% non-Hispanic white), 43% black, 5.1% Hispanic and 4.1% Asian. As you can see, white and black are the dominant racial groups in the city. About 6.2% of blacks have left the city, but North County remains mostly black.
Whatever your political views, I think you should know that racial segregation is a real thing in the United States. St. Louis is one of the many examples in the United States
As a second-generation Asian American, I support inclusion for minority groups, whether they like hockey and sports or not. I’m pretty sure the pandemic has brought blacks and Asians along with #BlackLivesMatter, #StopAsianHate, and vice versa. These are two racial groups that may get different brands, but they are still colored. That’s the beauty of America. It is a diverse country with a wide range of people from all walks of life. Everyone, including myself, has a fair chance of success in life.
I was born in America, but I spent part of my childhood in Canada. In the mid-1990s, there were few Asian and partially Asian NHLs, but I remember learning treats about the late Larry Kwong. And of course, I’ve seen players like Devin Setoguchi and Paul Kariya, despite being an avid NFL and NCAA football fan. What hockey fan has not seen these players at some point in their lives?
As for Asian NHLers, NHL.com published an article in April last year titled, “Asian and Pacific Islander Communities Make a Growing Influence on the NHL.” They are not mistaken.
Although there are not massive groups of Asians playing hockey as there are in tennis, golf and basketball, this was a rising tide in the hockey world. By 2021, there were 31 NHLers of Asian or South Asian descent following in Kwong’s footsteps. Jujhar Khaira is the NHL’s only player of Indian descent.
I caught up with a former Blues player for lunch last month. At one point, we were talking about my Chinese and Vietnamese roots, and he knew they were not playing hockey in Vietnam. Well, at least not professionally.
Believe me, I was glad he knew where I was coming from. I mean, hockey is still a new sport in Vietnam.
As of 2016, there are about 240,615 Vietnamese Canadians. Ice hockey is the national sport in Canada, just as American football is the most popular sport in America. When you (or at least your family) set foot in a new country, there is a likely chance that you will try to fit in with the locals, whether you intend to or not. With that said, there will be Vietnamese (and any minority, really) hockey fans and players in countries like Canada, Germany, etc.
Keep in mind that in places like Asia, Africa and Mexico, their climates tend to be hotter and humid. I do not know if you have traveled before, but try to think of a long-term summer in Missouri. It is basically these temperatures, especially in the summer. So ice hockey is probably not the first sport that an athlete from a warmer country thinks about all year round.
Ultimately, diversity is increasing in hockey, and that’s a wonderful thing. Not only for racial progress, but also for the rationale of the statement: “Hockey is for everyone.”