The NHL provides support for 36 youth hockey organizations touching over 100,000 kids annually across North America with youth programming in special hockey (cognitive disabilities), disabled hockey (physical and developmental disabilities) and inner-city hockey (children in at-risk communities). The programs offer children of all backgrounds opportunities to play hockey and leverages the sport of hockey as a catalyst to teach essential life skills and the core values of hockey: commitment, perseverance and teamwork. Each year the League also hosts Willie O'Ree Skills Weekend, bringing youth hockey standouts from organizations throughout North America together to test their skills, make new friends and prove once again that hockey is for everyone.
You Can Play works to ensure safety and inclusion for all who participate in sports, including LGBTQ athletes, coaches, and fans. You Can Play believes sports teams should focus on an athlete's skills, work ethic, and competitive spirit, not their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. In 2013, the NHL and National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) partnered with You Can Play, to ensure acceptance for all who participate in our game. Together we are advancing our commitment to this mission through education, training and awareness programs for teams, players, staff, media and fans.
The Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) is an unprecedented alliance of professional sports leagues, organizations, athletes, educators, media networks and sports professionals using sports to bring people together to promote understanding, respect and equality. Through public awareness campaigns and educational programming, RISE aims to improve race relations.
USA Hockey provides the foundation for the sport of ice hockey in the United States; helps young people become leaders, even Olympic heroes; and connects the game at every level while promoting a lifelong love of the sport. The organization has helped fuel the tremendous growth of girl's and women's hockey in recent years - providing additional resources and greater opportunities. USA Hockey has also supported a growing disabled hockey program, which covers four disciplines: Standing/Amputee, Deaf/Hard of Hearing, Sled, and Special Hockey. First staged in 2010, the USA Hockey Sled Classic is an annual round-robin format tournament supported by the NHL.
Hockey Canada is the national governing body for grassroots hockey in Canada with a mission to "Lead, Develop, and Promote Positive Hockey Experiences." The organization oversees the management of programs in Canada from entry-level to high performance teams and competitions, including world championships and the Olympic Winter Games. Hockey Canada has supported the growth of female hockey in the country, providing new resources and opportunities from recreational hockey to collegiate and elite levels. The organization also supports sledge hockey, improving the inclusiveness of the sport through programs for the physically disabled.