Change The Game: A Hockey DEI Toolkit

Bob Dawson

Former Black hockey player and contributing sports writer

Bob Dawson, former hockey player, now diversity management consultant, and senior writer for the Boxscore World Sportswire shared with us the comprehensive diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) toolkit that he has developed for the hockey community. This toolkit aims to address various challenges and issues related to diversity in hockey. 

Without a doubt, hockey is an important part of Canadian culture. Poet Al Purdy called hockey Canadian Specific. According to him, “It has been a forum for much that is good and bad in Canada.” By all accounts, hockey is a microcosm of society in terms of its issues and challenges. For the most part, it continues to be preoccupied with issues to be addressed rather than the development of a sport responsive to the need for continuous change.

As a former Black hockey player and contributing sports writer, I’m pleased to share this toolkit I’ve prepared that is intended to assist all stakeholders – hockey executives and administrators, coaches, players, game officials, players, parents, volunteers, spectators – with making hockey a safer, positive, more inclusive and welcoming environment for everyone.

In essence, the toolkit is comprised of several thought-provoking articles that have been written to address different issues and challenges regarding hockey. Below are the links to – and short descriptions of – the articles comprising the toolkit.

Inside Hockey | The Issue of Habits & Inclusion

As human beings, we all have habits; some are good while others are not so good. This article encourages stakeholders in hockey to examine how their habits or behavior patterns might impact inclusion in their organizations.

Racism in Hockey, It Stops With Us!

Despite efforts to date to be open and more inclusive, racism in hockey still exists at all levels of the game. Given that, this article invites us to ask ourselves the hard questions about racism such as who experiences it, what’s the impact on the players, local communities, and the sport, and most importantly what can we do individually to address it.

Change The Hockey Culture, Change The Game

Changing the hockey culture is without a doubt a daunting task, but a necessary one if the sport is to grow and survive. This article identifies what we can do as stakeholders to help create a safe, respectful, and welcoming environment for everyone.

In hockey our words matter: How to be

Frankly speaking, there is no one right approach to being an ally on a hockey team. This article offers a few suggestions on how to be an ally for racialized teammates (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour) who are more often than not the target of derogatory comments, harassment, and other indignities.

Diversity and Inclusion Matter in Hockey, But It’s Belonging
As a matter of interest, this article first examines the important concepts of diversity and inclusion in the context of hockey. It then highlights the importance of ” belonging ” in hockey’s organizational culture and the positive benefits of creating a sense of belonging in organizations.
Reality Check: Hockey through the lens of racism – BOXSCORE
To better understand racism and how it plays out in hockey one must first examine the source or sources of racist thinking/theories rooted in Social Darwinism. This article is intended to highlight (a) the issue of racism through the deconstruction of several racial incidents in hockey reported in the media and (b) the potential impact on the players, local communities, and the sport.
While hockey organizations may be diverse, they may not be inclusive. To address the latter, this article provides hockey executives and administrators with a series of critical questions to help them determine the level of inclusion in their organizations on several key points.

As we’ve seen in hockey, racist comments and actions on as well as off the ice bring out the worst in people that can hurt the sport and those who play the game. This article offers suggestions to various stakeholders to help them foster a positive and welcoming hockey environment for everyone.


Parting Comments

As members of the hockey community, I hope that the foregoing articles are instructive and useful in your work with hockey clubs, leagues, and associations. For hockey to thrive and survive we must ensure that the environment is safe, positive, inclusive, and welcoming for everyone. Moreover, we need to ensure hockey policies, practices, programs, services and systems are free of unjust barriers and responsive to the changing needs of those involved in the sport.

In the words of former US President Barack Obama “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”


To see the original source, visit: or click the “Learn More” button.

Share this post: