Posted on January 12, 2022

Hockey Diversity Alliance Unveils #Tapeouthate Anti-racism Campaign

Greg Wyshynski, ESPN, January 8, 2022

The Hockey Diversity Alliance hopes an attention-grabbing video and a campaign involving hockey tape bolsters its mission to eradicate racism in the sport.

The HDA, made up of current and former hockey players of color, has partnered with Budweiser Canada to launch “#TapeOutHate,” a campaign that will feature rolls of hockey tape available for purchase with “racism has no place in hockey” written on the tape.

Members of the HDA created a two-minute video that incorporates their real-life experiences with racism in hockey, from Akim Aliu having a racist comment directed to him by a coach to Wayne Simmonds having a banana thrown at him during a game.

There’s both an uncensored version and a version that blurs out the racial slurs directed at the players. The censored version will be shown during Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday night.

“The biggest thing we want to do is spark a conversation. It’s a rallying cry. We know we can’t do this on our own. We need our allies behind us, and that’s the white community supporting us,” Aliu, a former NHL player and a founding member of the HDA, told ESPN. {snip}

The HDA was founded in June 2020 by several NHL players of color. Along with Aliu, the video features Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt DumbaColorado Avalanche center Nazem KadriFlorida Panthers winger Anthony Duclair and Simmonds, a winger for the Toronto Maple Leafs.


Budweiser Canada reached out to the HDA with the idea for the campaign. Aliu said the immediate response from the players was whether they could “keep it organic and authentic,” having rebuffed other sponsor-partnership opportunities in the past year because the content ended up “watered down” in their eyes.

The heart of the video features the players in a locker room sharing stories about the racism they’ve faced in hockey. What started as a chance to capture footage became lengthy, emotional discussions, met with tears and silence when the director would cut the cameras.


This is the most high-profile moment for the HDA since its members and logos were highlighted by the NHL during the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs, held in the wake of national protests after the killing of George Floyd, a Black man, by Minneapolis police. Dumba gave an anti-racism speech when the playoffs began. Later, Kadri appeared in a news conference when two days of playoff games were postponed as a form of protest against systemic racism and police brutality.

Aliu said the HDA reached out to the NHL about the #TapeOutHate campaign. The players sought clearance to wear league logos and uniforms in their video. A source told ESPN that the request was denied because the NHL didn’t have an opportunity to review plans for the video and didn’t have the chance to offer editorial feedback.


At its board of governors meeting in December, the NHL revealed initiatives to combat abuse and promote inclusivity in hockey. Under the banner “Respect Hockey,” they were announced by Davis, the league’s EVP of social impact, growth initiatives and legislative affairs. They include a mandatory 90-minute digital-training program for all NHL executives, staff and players, created in partnership with former player Sheldon Kennedy’s Respect Group.

Aliu said the most positive aspect of the NHL’s Respect Hockey plan was its partnership with Jopwell, a diversity solutions company, to broaden its candidate base for jobs and build a pipeline for a diverse pool of future talent.

But the HDA itself was not included in the Respect Hockey plans.