Retired NHL Player and Hockey Diversity Alliance (HDA) Co-Founder, Joel Ward II discusses life as a minority in a predominately white sports league.
Direct Link to Episode: https://www.whitespeakpodcast.com/podcast-1/episode/4b825126/retired-nhl-player-and-hockey-diversity-alliance-hda-co-founder-joel-ward-ii-discusses-life-as-a-minority-in-a-predominately-white-league-ep-16
Hockey Diversity Alliance: https://hockeydiversityalliance.org
Statement from the Hockey Diversity Alliance on NHL’s response to racial injustice and violence
“The Hockey Diversity Alliance is deeply saddened by the Jacob Blake shooting – yet another example of police brutality against Black Americans that continues to go unabated and unaddressed in the communities where NHL teams play. Earlier today, the HDA formally requested that Commissioner Bettman and the NHL suspend all playoff games today to allow players and fans to reflect on what happened and to send a message that human rights must take priority over sport. Since forming in June 2020, the HDA has sought partnerships with the NHL and minor hockey leagues throughout Canada and the United States. We asked the NHL to sign the HDA Pledge which includes commitments to funding grassroots programs for BIPOC youth, funding impactful social justice initiatives, anti-racism education, targets for hiring and promoting Black individuals and businesses, and rule changes to make the culture of the game more inclusive. We hope to be in a position to announce an agreement in respect of the Pledge commitments before the end of the playoffs.” Akim Aliu Evander Kane Trevor Daley Anthony Duclair Matt Dumba Nazem Kadri Wayne Simmonds Chris Stewart Joel Ward Joel's Official Retirement April 27th, 2020 https://www.theplayerstribune.com/en-us/articles/joel-ward-nhl-retirement When I was 24 years old, I scored 16 goals for the University of Prince Edward Island Panthers in my senior season.
It was my final year playing college hockey in Canada. Four years of grinding it out, chasing an NHL dream that, with every winter in Charlottetown, seemed further and further away. There was no template — no guy who did four years, graduated and made it to the show. There were no scouts at my games, no agents calling me after practices. Sixteen goals in college hockey doesn’t quite pop off the page for a guy who is older than a good number of NHL players.
If, back then, you would have offered me just one single game in the league … I would have taken it and run. And I know I would have given everything I had in those 60 minutes, even if I knew there weren’t any more after.
So when people ask me how I ended up playing 726, that’s what I tell ’em. I played every game — every single game — like it was the only one I’d ever have. That’s how I made it to this point.
And this point, right here, it’s the end.
I’m retiring today.