New Carnegie Initiative aims to ‘expand the game’ of hockey

Order of Canada recipient Herb Carnegie in 2009. (Darren Calabrese/CP)

Bernice Carnegie and Bryant McBride have announced the founding of The Carnegie Initiative, a not-for-profit platform whose aim will be to “promote the growth of hockey and ensure opportunity and access to the sport.”

Named in honour of Carnegie’s father, the legendary hockey player and trailblazer Herb Carnegie, the initiative will work independently with all corners of the hockey world — teams, leagues, federations, executives in the game, brands — as well as academic institutions throughout North America to “champion the successes of diverse audiences in hockey as well as work to address and correct issues in the game on all levels with regard to any area of diversity.”

The group will also establish and award academic grants to academic institutions to study the issues affecting the sport and how to meaningfully change hockey culture.

Co-founded by Carnegie and McBride — who became the NHL’s first Black executive during his time with the league — the foundation will also be led by a board that includes Hall of Famers Willie O’Ree, Grant Fuhr and Angela James, NHL executive Brian Burke, former player and coach Ted Nolan, Olympian Sarah Nurse, Black Girl Hockey Club founder Renee Hess, Sportsnet’s Ron MacLean and Harnarayan Singh, and others “at the grassroots level representing members of the BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and parasport communities.”

“Change in hockey, and opening up the game for all, is something that is growing but needs to be accelerated,” said McBride, per a release. “And we believe that the time to do that has never been better. There are so many efforts going on, both big and small, to help expand the game, and our goal is to shed light on those communities, as well as help those still being marginalized, change problems that exist. We will do it holistically and without any bias.”

In their pursuit of changing hockey culture, the initiative lists five goals to guide their approach:

• Ensuring hockey is inclusive, supportive and welcoming to all
• Examining the efforts of governing bodies and other stewards of the game to make hockey more diverse and inclusive
• Using rigorous academic research to identify and solve the sport’s biggest issues
• Shine a light on success stories and best practices through media partners
• Creating substantive, authentic change throughout the hockey world

Said Carnegie, per the release, of the initiative’s plans:

“Hockey is a great game, and my father worked hard throughout his life to make sure opportunities existed for all. The Carnegie Initiative can now focus with the necessary resources and outreach to expand his work and help those who need it thrive both on and off the ice.”

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