Nucks look bad, Carnegie Summit & NHL mixed public messages

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Dear Hockey of Tomorrow reader,

Welcome to this week’s edition of Hockey of Tomorrow, the newsletter keeping you informed of anything hockey + innovation + culture & social impact.

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On that note, enough dilly-dallying.

Here are the top stories this week:

  • Vancouver Canucks Fire Bruce Boudreau; Completely Mishandle the Process

  • Hundreds gather at Carnegie Summit Over the Weekend to Talk Hockey Diversity

  • Award-winning journalist Jemele Hill calls NHL "Gutless"

Canucks Completely Mishandle the Boudreau Firing: Bruce there it is!

Bruce Boudreau is officially out of a job following this past weekend's game against the Edmonton Oilers. The team is underachieving so it makes sense the 68-year-old bench boss would be out, but what nobody expected is how it was handled.

The president of the Canucks, Jim Rutherford, is a well-respected senior executive in the NHL that has won multiple Stanley Cup championships, and Boudreau has won it as a coach.

Why is it that executives for the team seem to let Boudreau’s dismissal become public information weeks in advance? It’s something the team shouldn’t have let happen.

It's just poor judgment. I mean look at the guy.

How does a coach coaching at such a high level continue to do his job without letting that affect him? Obviously, it would.

During the last couple of games, the crowd was chanting for him, and it hit a chord for Boudreau this past Saturday night when almost everyone in the hockey world knew it would be his last game with the team.

Boudreau is an excellent coach and more importantly has always been a class act. He deserved better.

Former player and long-time coach Rick Tocchet now takes over behind the bench.

Hundreds gather at Carnegie Summit Over the Weekend to Talk Hockey Diversity

Nearly 500 people from diverse backgrounds, including Black and white, Indigenous, men and women, gay and straight, and those with disabilities, gathered in Toronto over the weekend to promote change in hockey and advocate for inclusivity.

We were there covering the whole event, and WOW were we impressed.

We had one of our fantastic contributors, Danielle Bain, grill some of the executives in attendance.

Among the attendees were Hugh Fraser, the chairman of Hockey Canada, Kim Davis, an executive vice-president with the NHL, other hockey executives, former players, and many others who are working to improve the culture of the game and make it more inclusive.

The event was the second of its kind, following the first Carnegie Initiative for Inclusion and Acceptance in Hockey in Boston, which was attended by 175 people. The initiative was co-founded by Bernice Carnegie, whose father Herb was recently inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder.

Herb Carnegie, a native of Toronto, was a prominent player in the top Ontario and Quebec leagues during the 1940s and 1950s. Despite his exceptional talent, many individuals, including Jean Béliveau of the Montreal Canadiens, believed that he was not given the chance to play in the NHL due to his race.

Prominent figures in the hockey world, such as Brian Burke, former NHL coach Ted Nolan, and Scott Howson, the president of the AHL, were in attendance to discuss the future of diversity in hockey.

Interesting to note: Joel Quenneville even popped by. Goes to show, change is happening, ever so slowly, but happening.

Award-winning journalist Jemele Hill calls NHL "Gutless" in her latest piece

Yikes. That's pretty rough. Renowned sports journalist Jemele Hill threw an axe at the NHL for the Desantis & Provorov debacles

What debacles? Well here's a summary of The Atlantic article crafted by Jemele, that you can access directly here.

  • The NHL launched and promoted a job fair in Florida to encourage more diversity & inclusiveness within the NHL employee pool.

  • This was crucial since by their own internal auditing, 83%+ of its workforce is white, and 62% of jobs are held by men.

  • Governor Desantis learned about this and pushed back, saying the NHL should make this job fair open to everyone.

  • The NHL changed course and rescinded it's initial approach.

  • In the other incident, the NHL organized a "Hockey is for Everyone" warm up event with the Flyers.

  • Provorov did not want to wear LGBTQ Pride Night warm-up jersey or use a rainbow-taped hockey stick.

  • The NHL released a statement saying players can choose which initiatives to support.

Inclusiveness is a fight that has its ups and downs, and every private organization can take any position it chooses.

But the fact remains that the biggest hockey league in the world has clearly tried to play both sides of the argument. And the general public is starting to see through the cracks.

The somewhat schizophrenic approach reveals a real internal battle the league is wagging, one that is making external parties from all sides feel... uneasy.

Hopefully, these PR blips will keep shaking the metaphorical cage.

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