In the last month, the World Cup of Hockey 2016 has unveiled a project that will promote social change and social inclusion through the sport of hockey on an international platform.
ESPN is one of the generous contributors, alongside Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), Scotiabank and Hockey Canada, who have partnered to promote the 2016 Legacy Project.
– ESPN VP Kevin Martinez
The National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) and the National Hockey League (NHL) recently revealed the World Cup of Hockey 2016 Legacy Project. It’s a four-year initiative that supports recent immigrants, refugees, and other newcomers among new Canadians.
The Project aims at use the sport of hockey as a powerful tool to help these newcomers adapt into their new communities across the Greater Toronto area. The WCOH 2016 Legacy Project aims to make hockey the official winter sport of Canada, while also making the sport accessible to all Canadians.
— NHL (@NHL) September 21, 2016
The sport of hockey is growing globally and the ethnic diversity of players at the NHL level continues to strengthen.
The NHL and NHLPA embrace and encourage diversity, inclusion and respect for all players and fans of the sport of hockey—regardless of race, color, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender, identity, national origin, ancestry, age or disability.
Gary Bettman, NHL Commissioner, said: “At the World Cup of Hockey 2016, hockey is a universal language and a unifying force. No matter your country birth, no matter which native language you speak or read, hockey bonds people throughout the world.”
– Bill Graff, ESPN senior coordinating producer
This mission set out by the NHL and NHLPA is also in line with ESPN’s mindset on how sports are a great tool to empower communities and bring together diversity and inclusion.
Vice President of Corporate Citizenship, Kevin Martinez, said: “Sports is an incredible unifier, and we’re so proud to support the NHL and NHLPA’s Legacy Project to help ‘new Canadians’ adapt to their community using hockey as a successful bridge.”
Playing or participating in sports – even as a spectator – can bring people of all backgrounds together and create a sense of belonging. The WCH 2016 Legacy Project will use the sport of hockey to promote social inclusion, acceptance, and recognition – and extend the core values of the game to help individuals overcome some of the challenges of being a newcomer.
Bill Graff, senior coordinating producer of ESPN’s World Cup of Hockey coverage, spoke about the impact ESPN and WCH Legacy Project’s had on the staff.
“The WCH Legacy programs here in Toronto and ESPN’s involvement with the NHL in supporting these programs has touched many members of our staff,” Graff said. “[ESPN WCOH analyst] Kevin Weekes greatly appreciated participating in the diversity event and our interview with Brendan Saad of Team Canada showed me the importance of hockey’s role including all races of life to the game.”
ESPN’s Corporate Citizenship is proud to be working in collaboration with an organization that is working to empower its community through sports. The Legacy Initiative is an ongoing philanthropic endeavor to support community organizations in the host city of an event.
NHL Productions produced the video above.