In February, the National Hockey League will celebrate NHL Diversity month—a league-wide celebration of the varied backgrounds of players and fans who make up the NHL; league Clubs are encouraged to support this initiative by providing unique programming tied into the theme “Hockey is for Everyone”.
To support the program, the Predators are working with the NHL to have Willie O’Ree—the first black NHL player—travel to Nashville for a two-day stint (February 11-12) filled with guest-speaking opportunities, street hockey clinics at schools and community centers and a ceremonial puck drop during Hockey is For Everyone Night at the February 12 home game vs. the St. Louis Blues. O’Ree has been the NHL’s Director of Youth Development since January of 1998. This former Boston Bruin played his first NHL game on January 18, 1958 against the Montreal Canadiens—marking a historic day as he became the first black person to play in the NHL.
Also getting involved in the festivities will be Nashville forwards Jordin Tootoo
—the NHL’s first player of Inuit decent—and Joel Ward—the Predators first black player. Tootoo and Ward will participate with O’Ree at a street hockey clinic for minority youth groups at the Street Pride Center.
Additionally, the Nashville Predators will hold an essay contest
during January and through the beginning of February 2009 for middle school students in a Metropolitan Nashville Public School. The essay topic will be “What diversity means to me” as part of the “Hockey is For Everyone” theme celebrating the NHL Diversity initiative. Winners will be recognized during “Hockey is For Everyone” night at the Predators home game on February 12 vs. St. Louis Blues.Related Predators Hockey is for Everyone media:
Jordin Tootoo & Joel Ward Meet with Willie O'Ree Willie O'Ree's Visit to Nashville
• Ice Tigers Prove Hockey Is For Everyone
• Preds Hockey Is For Everyone Children's Essay Contest Winners
• Ryan Suter Supports Hockey Weekend Across America
• USA Hockey's Hockey Weekend Across America
• NHL.com: Time to celebrate Hockey Across America Weekend! Willie O'Ree Skate with students from Park Avenue Elementary
• NHL.com: Right wing trio adds to the NHL's expanding diversity Hockey is for Everyone
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