DENVER — The Black Girl Hockey Club has partnered with the Colorado Avalanche as part of their Get Uncomfortable campaign, a commitment to disrupting racism and making hockey more inclusive.
Black Girl Hockey Club is an organization of black women and allies with the purpose of supporting black/BIPOC players and fans.
“We’re an organization that does everything from scholarship opportunities to rallies to make people feel safe when they go to games,” said Black Girl Hockey Club volunteer Danielle Adams. “There is a deficit of people who look like me on the ice and off the ice. So at first it was uncomfortable. But there are aspects of hockey, of the sport itself, that are loving and welcoming, and it’s such a great sport.
The Black Girl Hockey Club launched the Get Uncomfortable campaign in 2020.
“It was really a way for fans from all over the sport to come together and say, ‘We’re going to get uncomfortable and talk about racial justice and being inclusive,'” Adams said. “Earlier this year, the Avalanche signed our pledge and committed to not being comfortable with the Black Girl Hockey Club and to truly investing in diversity and inclusion in the sport of the community of Denver. So we’re really excited. We offer scholarships through the Black Girl Hockey Club, and the Colorado Avalanche is committed to not only being uncomfortable, but also providing opportunities for young players who may not be able to easy access to the game. »
Throughout the campaign, the Avs held camps for BIPOC youth and used social media to start difficult conversations.
“As a fan, there are maybe five colored fans, maybe three black fans at any home game,” said Colorado Avalanche fan Kristen Wallace.
Wallace hopes to join the club soon to watch the sport she loves with other BIPOC women and continue to champion diversity in hockey.
“I think because hockey is not a traditionally American sport, you have like Canada and Norway that really supply most of the players, so, you know, it’s not as diverse, and the players from black hockey doesn’t get the kind of support they need. But hockey is also, it’s very expensive,” Wallace said. “We have to start hockey earlier. Make it more accessible to black kids. Because really, you end up promoting 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.