For the 12th year, the National Hockey League, in honor of Black History Month, has designated February Hockey is for Everyone Month to celebrate and promote the growing diversity of the game of hockey.
Throughout the month, the NHL, its member clubs, current and former players and affiliated youth organizations will host numerous activities to raise awareness of the NHL’s Hockey is for Everyone initiative and its commitment to offering children of all backgrounds opportunities to play hockey.
"The NHL continues its commitment to supporting non-profit organizations that make the game of hockey more accessible," said Kenneth Martin, Jr., NHL Vice President of Community and Diversity Programming. "Each year, we take this critical time in our season to shine a light on the tremendous efforts of volunteer organizations throughout North America that help bring this great game to every community."
Throughout the month, public service announcements featuring Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla, Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, Columbus Blue Jackets captain Rick Nash and Atlanta Thrashers rookie Evander Kane will run in-arena and air on the NHL Network and NHL Radio. The PSAs also are featured on NHL GameCenter Live programming and available for viewing on NHL.com.
A second PSA celebrates Black History Month and showcases the history of black players in the NHL, from Willie O'Ree's debut in 1958 to current players such as Kane, Los Angeles Kings forward Wayne Simmonds and Chicago Blackhawks forward Dustin Byfuglien.
The Hockey is for Everyone initiative is a component of "The Biggest Assist Happens off the Ice," the NHL's social responsibility program that builds on the League's long-standing tradition of addressing important social issues in North America and around the world.
Hockey is for Everyone provides support and unique programming to non-profit youth hockey organizations across North America that are committed to offering children of all backgrounds opportunities to play hockey. The initiative is supported by NHL member clubs, players, NHL alumni, and fans. To date, Hockey is for Everyone has exposed close to 45,000 boys and girls to unique hockey experiences.