Former All-Star defenseman P.K. Subban (pictured) and winger Anson Carter are co-chairs of the NHL's new player inclusion coalition. File Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo
June 27 (UPI) -- The NHL and NHL Players' Association launched a player inclusion coalition and $1 million for the initiative, which will attempt to advance equality and inclusion in hockey, the league and union said Tuesday.
The 20-member group of current and former NHL and women's professional hockey players will lead the initiative. Former All-Star defenseman P.K. Subban and winger Anson Carter are co-chairs.
"Every member of the NHL player inclusion coalition shares a passion to bring diversity and inclusion to the forefront of the hockey community," Carter said in a news release.
"It has been incredible to work together to amplify the role of players as advisers, ambassadors and catalysts for real change, which benefits underrepresented groups in the game."
The coalition includes a "range of perspectives across players of color, LGBTQ+ players, and allies," the league and union said. The group first formed in 2020 as the NHL player inclusion committee.
The league said the group's "evolution" from a committee to a coalition is related to its renewed focus on "action. The coalition's initiatives include inclusion experiences and educational sessions for NHL officials, rookies and minor league players and connecting and inspiring underrepresented youth.
"Today is the day of the announcement, but the work has already started," Subban said in a video posted to his social media accounts.
The league and union said $750,000 of their $1 million commitment will go toward a NHL player inclusion coalition action fund, which aims to direct resources toward grassroots programs that "welcome and celebrate diverse hockey audiences."
That fund will send a $10,000 grant to the Nashville Predators for creating opportunities in a racial equality program, which introduces hockey -- at no cost -- to players aged 4 to 9.
Former Team USA forward Julie Chu, Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Zach Whitecloud and forwards Cam Atkinson of the Philadelphia Flyers and Chris Kreider of the New York Rangers are among the other members of the coalition.