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🏒 Linechange: The NHL Diversity report, AHL Pens are innovative & Minor Hockey moulah

Your all-in-one hockey + tech+ culture news.

Dear reader,

Thanks for enjoying Linechange: a newsletter that aims to inform you intelligently (and respectfully) about hockey + tech + culture.

Let's tackle the hot topics:

  • The NHL releases their diversity report & spoiler, it's not diverse

  • AHL Penguins join Hockey of Tomorrow program

  • Minor hockey league forces parents to buy gear from only 1 supplier

83% of the NHL workforce is white & 63% of workers are male

Well that's an unsurprising humdinger. Corporate hockey isn't particularly inclusive and diverse.  The surprising part of the NHL diversity report ( which isn't super obvious to find online so linking it here)  is the way the top hockey league in the world spins the results as positive in" providing a benchmark".

The report is titled "Accelerating diversity & inclusion". It should have been called the "Oh crap, what do we do with these results?!" report. Sidenote, it's also difficult to accelerate when you aren't moving. Mark Lazarus from the Athletic points this out unapologetically: the NFL, MLB and NBA have always been wayyyyyy ahead of the curve when it comes to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion data.

We always hear excuses about hockey mishaps: it isn't as popular as other sports, not as advanced, or not as engaging. In this case, there's not excuse to avoid the diversity topic for so long unless, wait for it.....things are so bad that avoidance starts being a viable option. This seems to be the PR strategy concerning CTE issues as well.  

Thankfully, players are speaking out, such as Matt Dumba that called the current system  an "Old Boys's Club".  Let's keep the conversation going.

"It just goes back to everything that's been done for a long, long time in the same fashion...You know, the old boys' club and them dictating who is and who isn’t welcome. Yeah, I'm sick of it."

Matt Dumba, 28 yr old NHL star

AHL organization joins Hockey of Tomorrow program 

Everybody says they want to be innovative, cutting edge, and forward-thinking. Truth is, it takes some cajones to actually step up to the plate and try things out differently, and most don't want to risk it. I haven't checked the anatomy of an actual living penguin recently ( and if YOU have, then please reach out, we need to talk, that's not normal) but the Pens AHL farm team definitely has some sort of cajunes.

The professional hockey team has agreed to join the brand-new Hockey of Tomorrow program. What is this shindig, you might ask? The program aims to provide pro hockey teams and corporate partners with support in innovation experiments, educational content and opportunities to engage with fans in unique ways.

It is organized by the Lipsweater Collective, which has assembled over 120 pro hockey players together to move the game forward.

If you'd like to learn more about Hockey of Tomorrow, simply reply back to this email: the Linechange newsletter will be involved in its debut!

Jersey sponsorship deals are souring Minor Hockey now!

So you thought the NHL selling corporate patches was bad... How about local minor hockey coaches getting benched because they don't buy their stuff from the approved league supplier? This tidbit comes from the small town Orillia news outlet.

Ontario store owners that serve the 33,000 Orillian citizens are frustrated that parents are being bullied by the organization to buy from the "league-approved" Quebec-based apparel supplier. What is a "league-approved" supplier? Happy you asked: one that pays to get its product in the hands of kids. The background logic is respectable on the surface : the league gets a kick back for sales and thus can lower costs for parents. However, the actual reality is that if the "league-approved" supplier is 30% more expensive than local suppliers, the math doesn't add up anymore. 

Can we just all agree: it's time to sound the alarm bells. Money has too much influence in our beloved sport. We all need to understand the danger of the continuous financialization of ice hockey: it won't survive in its current format. It'll become too expensive, too complicated and not welcoming for the upcoming generation.

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