Black Girl Hockey Club, Colorado Avalanche partner in campaign to disrupt racism, make hockey more inclusive

DENVER — The Black Girl Hockey Club has partnered with the Colorado Avalanche for its Get Uncomfortable campaign, a pledge to end racism and make hockey more inclusive.

The Black Girl Hockey Club is an organization of Black women and allies dedicated to supporting Black/BIPOC players and fans.

“We’re an organization that does everything from offering scholarships to getting together to make people feel safe going to the games,” said Danielle Adams, a volunteer at Black Girl Hockey Club. “There is a deficit of people who look like me on and off the ice. So it felt awkward at first. But there are aspects of hockey, the sport itself, that are loving and welcoming, and it’s just such a great sport.”

The Black Girl Hockey Club launched the Get Uncomfortable campaign in 2020.

“It was really a way for fans from across the sport to come together and say, ‘We’re going to be uncomfortable and talk about racial justice and inclusion,'” Adams said. “Earlier this year, the Avalanche signed our pledge and pledged to be uncomfortable with Black Girl Hockey Club and truly invest in the diversity and inclusion of the sport in the Denver community. So we’re really excited. We provide scholarships through the Black Girl Hockey Club, and the Colorado Avalanche is committed to not only making it uncomfortable, but also giving young players who don’t necessarily have easy access to the game an opportunity.”

As part of the campaign, the Avs have hosted camps for BIPOC youth and used social media to engage in tough conversations.

“As a fan, at every home game, there’s maybe five fans of color, maybe three fans of color,” said Colorado Avalanche fan Kristen Wallace.

Wallace hopes to join the club soon to see the sport she loves with other BIPOC women and continue to advocate for diversity in hockey.

“I think because hockey isn’t a traditionally American sport, if you have Canada and Norway who really have the most players, it’s not as diverse, and black hockey players aren’t getting some of the support that they could need. But hockey is also very expensive,” Wallace said. “We need to start hockey earlier. Make it more accessible to black kids. Because in the end we promote sports that are less expensive.”

At a time when some of the league’s best players continue to face racism, Wallace and Adams say inclusion must be a priority for the NHL. But Adams says right now, all Colorado hockey fans, regardless of background, have at least one thing in common — a winning team.

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