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Black Girl Hockey Club, Hockey Canada to host a summit to improve the hockey culture & the impact of Karen Ota-O'Brien on Women's hockey in Florida

Your all-in-one innovation + positive impact + culture news in hockey.

Dear Hockey of Tomorrow reader,

I hope you’re already knee-deep in the holiday festivities. I figured we can share some insight while you’re waiting in line at the grocery store with the burger buns and 6 pack.

Don’t forget the relish, everyone always forgets the relish.

Let’s dive in.


Originally, Renee Hess just wanted to create a group chat to bring Black Women hockey players together. There’s no way she could see the impact it would have on her own community.

The first thing that they wanted to address was the high cost of playing hockey for Black girls.

Through their Scholarship Program, Black femme hockey players around the world aged between 9-18 are provided with financial aid. In the past two years, $62,000 USD in scholarships were awarded to 30 hockey players by the BGHC.

If it’s not sunny where you’re at, this story will brighten things for sure.


A friends request on Facebook changed everything for Ryan Minkoff. He was a star college hockey player and during the spring break in his senior year, he received an invitation from a Finnish guy, who turned out to be a team manager of a Finland team that was interested in having him.

He flew across the globe, took the risk and played a season in Finland. His impact there turned out to be much bigger than on the ice. As the season progress, he began to be more interested in the business side of things.

Eight years later, Minkoff is a hockey agent who represents 57 active clients. Oh, and he is also writing books during his off time. You can read more about his journey and what led him to a change of path in Ariel Melendez’s new piece.

There’s still so much work to do to make things more inclusive for people with disabilities.

If someone with a disability wants to play hockey, there are not a lot of options compared to other sports. Max Rosenthal wrote about how Disabled hockey deserves better.

....+ two stories that haven't been covered yet on our platform

  • Hockey Canada will host a summit in September on hockey culture

  • The impact of Karen Ota-O’Brien on Women’s hockey in Florida

Hockey Canada wants to improve the hockey culture


Everyone can agree that Hockey Canada has had its issues ( to say the least).

However, the tide is changing, and they’ll try bringing everyone together to chat about things next September in Calgary.

Subject matter experts, hockey leaders and people who have first-hand experiences will all be invited. And topics will include: homophobia, racism, sexism, misoginy, gender-based violence, and many more.

“The Beyond the Boards Summit is a critical step to help us understand areas in the game that need to change. The time is now to put intentional efforts towards addressing these important issues.”

Let’s see where this goes, but I’m cheering for its success.

Karen Ota-O’Brien and the growth of Women’s hockey in the south

Karen Ota-O’Brien didn’t win the Willie O’Ree community awards at the NHL Awards earlier this week. Nonetheless, her impact is award-winning in my books.

She’s been shaking the cage for hockey across Florida.

Ota-O’Brien founded the South Florida Women’s Hockey Program, the Lucky Pucks Hockey Club and the Girls Night Out League.

She is also the co-founder and president of the Florida Women’s Hockey League (FWHL). She helped grow the league to 14 teams with over 350 participants from across the state.

The Women’s hockey community across Florida is massively grateful for all her efforts too.

“Karen has changed the lives of so many women, without her, I personally wouldn’t be playing hockey, I didn’t have the confidence to play in a men’s league at the time, the fact that she came up with the Girls Night Out program, that allowed me to have a place to play, to feel safe, feel included,” Maria Law, another member of Lucky Pucks.

Weird to say it out of context, but oh boy, do we need more Karens.

That’s it for this edition of the Hockey of Tomorrow newsletter. As we continue to highlight the best, most diverse, and most interesting, off-ice hockey stories, we would appreciate any feedback you might have.

Thanks again for reading this new edition of Hockey of Tomorrow.

Tom Sychterz, Founder

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