On Wednesday, the NHL, NHLPA and 15 hockey organizations came together to sign off on the Declaration of Principles, which promotes inclusion, physical activity and health, sportsmanship and accessibility, among other things.
Last year, Pat Lafontaine was invited to The Vatican to attend a conference on Sports for the Service to Humanity. That trip and conference at least in part led to Wednesday’s announcement in New York.
And the Pope took notice of the initiative from the hockey world. Speaking at Wednesday’s event, Lafontaine relayed the contents of the Pope’s letter:
“His holiness Pope Francis was pleased to learn that an international group of hockey organizations has chosen formally to adopt the Declaration of Principles that emerged from last year’s global conference on Sports for the Service of Humanity. His holiness trusts that this significant gesture will inspire greater appreciation of the pivotal role that’s played by sports and sportsmanship in training future generations to pursue personal excellence and to promote spiritual values of teamwork, solidarity, and mutual respect so necessary for building a more just and fraternal world.
Throughout Wednesday’s announcement, various speakers talked about this declaration as transcending the sport of hockey. As much as the initiative is about encouraging new families to get involved with the game and supporting those already involved, the Declaration of Principles also strives to get kids involved in other sports to maintain better health, learn life-long lessons and nurture friendships.