The LA Kings, in conjunction with today's historic announcement of THE ALLIANCE: Los Angeles program, have announced the creation of a new organizational initiative - The LA Kings Inclusion Initiative - a program designed to contribute to building equity in sports and within the front office, while helping to eradicate racism in and around the world of hockey.
The LA Kings Inclusion Initiative will work in conjunction with THE ALLIANCE: Los Angeles but will be a stand-alone initiative specific to the LA Kings organization and anchored by the following areas of action:
- Hiring, Recruiting and Development/Training for the Organization
- Youth Hockey and Ice Sports Accountability
- Youth Hockey Development and Equity Expansion
- Fan Education, Growth and Inclusion
- Sourcing and Purchasing Audits
- Voting and Census Partnerships with the State of California
- Kings Care Commitments
- Participation in the LA Sports Alliance
The goal is to contribute to the fight to end racism by tackling the systemic issues in our city and industry, while creating opportunity and equity in hockey. The LA Kings Inclusion Initiative also aims to further align with key allies in our game and sports overall, and this Initiative will include all aspects of the organization down to our affiliates with Ontario and into our development systems.
"Diversity and Inclusion are critically important for our organization. Amidst all of the outcry that was amplified with the murder of George Floyd and countless others, and the recurring evidence of systemic racism in our society, we have devoted an enormous amount of time looking inward at our organization and our sport at all levels here locally in Los Angeles," said LA Kings Chief Operating Officer Kelly Cheeseman. "It is clearly evident that we can do more to contribute to systemic change."
The initiative will be guided and influenced by Blake Bolden, who joined the Kings approximately six months ago as an AHL scout. Bolden will now serve as AHL Scout/Growth and Inclusion Specialist. She will retain her scouting duties while working in partnership with Kings executive leadership, Kings Care Foundation and Hockey Development departments to define diversity and inclusion initiatives both internally and externally.
"We've definitely been working," Bolden said. "The Kings Executive leadership has responded quickly and are working diligently to prioritize the eradication of racism and inclusion in our game. Personally, these initiatives give me tremendous hope for the future.
"My hiring six months ago is a perfect example of the many contributions made to promote diversity in our sport. I am honored to work closely with an organization that has been and continues to do great work to create systemic change."
In 2015 Bolden became the first black professional women's hockey player. She's played hockey professionally in both the Canadian Women's Hockey League and National Women's Hockey League following a standout playing career at Boston College. She has also played overseas and represented the U.S. in several international hockey tournaments.
The Kings will announce more specific details of the LA Kings Inclusion Initiative in the coming weeks, including the organization's first-ever free, week-long youth hockey camp.