The Los Angeles Kings have tapped the team’s AHL scout and the first Black professional women’s hockey player, Blake Bolden, to guide its new inclusion initiative, the team announced Tuesday.
The Kings say the new program is designed to build equity in sports and within the team’s front office, while helping to eradicate racism in hockey.
The initiative is in conjunction with the Kings’ participation in the newly announced “The Alliance: Los Angeles,” a new five-year commitment from 11 L.A.-area sports teams to drive investment and impact for social justice issues facing communities of colour, particularly Black communities.
“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 Kings COO Kelly Cheeseman said in a statement.
“It is clearly evident that we can do more to contribute to systemic change.”
The Kings’ initiative aims to tackle issues of systemic racism in hockey and Los Angeles as a whole via hiring, recruitment, development and training for the organization, youth hockey development and equity expansion, and more.
Bolden, who joined the Kings as an AHL scout earlier this year, will now also serve as growth and inclusion specialist. The Kings say she will continue with her scouting duties, while working with the team’s executive leadership, Kings Care Foundation and hockey development departments on diversity and inclusion.
“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 honoured to work closely with an organization that has been and continues to do great work to create systemic change.”
Bolden played in both the CWHL and NWHL after a standout run at Boston College.
The Kings say they will announce more specific details of their inclusion initiative in the coming weeks.