MONTREAL - Hockey should be for everyone, but the sport has a ways to go before it can truly be a safe space for all.

In the documentary Black Ice, created by director and 2005 Academy-Award nominee Hubert Davis, current and former Black hockey players like Akim Aliu, Wayne Simmonds, P.K. Subban, and others share their experiences with racism in the sport.

The film was executive produced by Drake, LeBron James, and Maverick Carter, among others, and won the People's Choice Award for Documentaries at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in 2022.

The Canadiens hosted a screening of the film at the Bell Centre on February 20, in collaboration with the Round Table for Black History Month. The viewing was followed by a Q&A featuring Davis, defenseman Jordan Harris, former Hab Georges Laraque, and moderated by host Meeker Guerrier. They discussed the documentary, their own experiences in hockey and how to grow the game to make it more diverse and inclusive.

Here are a few excerpts from the session:

Meeker Guerrier: How important is it for you to put it [being African American] out there and for people to know about your heritage?

Jordan Harris: I’m really proud of my heritage and the way I grew up. I feel extremely lucky to have been raised the way I was; biracial and Jewish, and raised to love hockey for what it is. It’s been special for me to share my story throughout college and now that I’m playing professional hockey, I have a bigger platform than I had. It’s special for me to share who I am with so many people because you never know who’s listening, watching, and dreaming of playing professional hockey. It’s such an incredible community to be a part of, so after seeing the film, it really hit home how many people felt as though they were unwelcome in the hockey community because of their race and their ethnicity. That really hit home for me, because it’s such a beautiful sport, and I’ve met so many beautiful people. You want everyone to feel welcome and at home and be able to share their passion for hockey.

Audience member: From your experience, what is one thing that needs to change in hockey that would make a big leap forward?

Harris: It’s a great question. It’s honestly tough to answer because it’s hard to say one thing that’s going to push hockey forward. I think it’s players who have platforms and can tell their stories and films like Black Ice coming out. I learned so much, personally, about the history of hockey and the history of the NHL and the development of hockey. So, that was cool to see. I really do think it’s just about telling your story because younger kids — when they watch hockey and turn on the TV — might not see any players of color on the ice. It's tough to grow that demographic in hockey because kids look up to athletes and stars, especially when they can relate to them, when they look like them, when they believe they can be them one day. So, for these young kids to turn on the TV and see Anson Carter, to turn on the TV and watch Black Ice, that goes such a long way and that’s a big reason I want to be here tonight, and I appreciate these guys [Davis, Laraque and Guerrier] and all of you [the crowd]. It’s just sharing your stories and growing the game. It’s tough to say one big thing that’s going to do it. I think it’s a cumulative effort.

Watch the full video below.

Canadiens host Q&A with Black Ice director