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Both the NWHL and PWHPA are fighting for gender equality in professional hockey, as the game doesn’t provide an equal opportunity for everyone simply based on gender identity. However, another lingering injustice speaks to the value of intersectionality.

Following the murder of George Floyd—and many other deaths of Black people —the most significant civil rights protests in over a half-century have erupted across North America. It has sparked conversations about police brutality and systemic racism.

Racism is an issue that transcends sports, but that doesn’t omit the hockey community from taking action. Thus, the NWHL and PWHPA are amplifying marginalized voices in the fight against racism in hockey. Silence has enabled and justified these injustices.

Saroya Tinker—recently selected fourth overall by the Metropolitan Riveters in the 2020 NWHL Draft—shared her experience in hockey as a woman of colour. Not only is her gender a barrier, but Tinker has also felt unwelcome in hockey due to her skin colour.

“Some of my former teammates lack the understanding of the African-American community and that of white supremacy,” Tinker said in her personalized statement on Twitter. “[…] In this case, I am, and always will be, inferior to my White teammates.”

Sarah Nurse—a member of the PWHPA and Team Canada—also spoke out regarding racism in society. She referred to George Floyd’s murder as yet another example of devaluing Black lives, urging people to incorporate anti-racism in their everyday lives.

Blake Bolden—a member of the PWHPA and the first Black player in the NWHL—has engaged in deep conversations about racism in hockey. Along with Nurse, Bolden was featured in The Hockey News and also appeared on Sports Talk with Erica L. Ayala.

If you’re looking for valuable resources on the matter, Jashvina Shah has published information on how to be an ally through education, action and support. There’s also a thorough guide on ways you can help in becoming anti-racist as opposed to “not racist.”

Featured photo taken by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe

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