The National Hockey League (NHL) hosted a “Team Trans” Draft Tournament in Middleton, Wisconsin last weekend, with teams “comprised entirely of transgender and nonbinary players.” The tournament is the first-ever of its kind and boasted about 80 participants.
Sharing photos from the weekend on Twitter, comments flooded in, a few in support of the move but many more in outrage or confusion. Specifically, commenters wondered why biological men wouldn’t just play in the regular men’s league, and also whether this isn’t trans people being treated differently, which they allegedly don’t want.
But the NHL stood behind their support, replying to one comment from a non-blue-checkmark profile with the following tweet: “Trans women are women. Trans men are men. Nonbinary identity is real.”
The sun is blue.
Good thing I can't stand hockey, would have to take it off the list… https://t.co/l1fY6HtENr
— Ray Dietrich (@redvoiceray) November 22, 2022
After taking a beating in the comments thread of their tweets, NHL blocked the tweet so that only people they follow were allowed to comment.
In January, the NHL and 32 clubs started a diversity and inclusion board comprised mostly of former players. According to their website, “The National Hockey League is intentionally seeking a greater diversity of experiences throughout hockey, whether you are in it to play, work, or watch. Since January 2020, the League Office and all 32 NHL Clubs have pursued with new urgency a variety of initiatives to make our game more welcoming, inclusive, accessible, and socially conscious.”
The league’s first-ever report was released in October of this year. The report was titled “Accelerating Diversity & Inclusion” and is 24 pages long. In it, it’s revealed that “83.6% of employees across the NHL and its teams are white.”
As far as gender, “61.86% of workers around the NHL identify as men, with 36.81% identifying as women,” while “52.72% identify as male and 46.2% identify as female.” The report found that one in 10 NHL fans in the United States are women.
Further, “93.14% of the NHL’s workforce identifies as straight or heterosexual, 1.52% as bisexual, 1.12% as gay, and 0.81% as lesbian.”
In the report, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman wrote, “We are working to better understand and accelerate our engagement across all layers of diversity — including nationality, race, gender identify, sexual orientation, disability, and religion. Each day, we are committed to ensuring inclusion becomes more of ‘who we are’ than ‘what we do.'”
Kim Davis, the NHL’s executive vice president of social impact, growth, and legislative affairs, said that the rise of women in management in the league is just a start. “This is a good start,” she said, “but nobody is taking a victory lap. We did this because we wanted to put a stake in the ground. Being transparent and being held accountable isn’t as scary as it may have felt three years ago.”
She also said the league is working to make NHL more “appealing” to “underrepresented groups.”
The transgender tournament comes following the NHL supporting, alongside other major sports leagues, Black Lives Matter and an anti-American agenda.
Greg Wampler of Geeks and Gamers wrote, “The NHL even goes as far as to admit to their new mentorship programs that are ONLY for non-whites and females.”
He also said, “In case you didn’t already know, even the NHL has gone woke. They may be a bit behind the curve, but don’t worry; they’re catching up fast. The NHL often uses the tagline ‘The Fastest Game on Earth,’ but somehow, that wasn’t good enough for them. Now, they want to be the wokest game on Earth.”
Before the NHL blocked commenting on their tweets, one commenter wrote, “See kids, this is what happens when you get too many concussions.” Another user questioned the future of the sport, asking in a tweet, “Then I’m sure you’ll start drafting Trans men onto the men’s hockey teams…if you don’t, you’re a bigot and homophobic…amirite?”
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