In the midst of two days of news that shook the hockey world, the National Hockey League sent a memo to its clubs on Wednesday, stating the league’s commitment to “inclusion, safety and respect for all.”
Titled “Fostering A Safe and Inclusive NHL Culture,” the three-page memo from commissioner Gary Bettman states the league’s commitment to having a culture that is “safe, inclusive and free from abuse, harassment and all forms of unethical behavior or misconduct…”
“…As stewards of the game, our ownership, executives, staff, Players, fans and broader industry ecosystem expect that we, as leaders, ensure environments that represent and reinforce our values and standards,” the memo reads. “Each day, all of us represent the NHL Shield. This is true regardless of whether your work function puts you in the locker room, on the ice, in an office or elsewhere.”
Addressed to all team governors, assistant governors, presidents, general managers and coaches, the memo was sent on the same day former Chicago Blackhawks first-round draft pick Kyle Beach identified himself in an interview with TSN as the player known as “John Doe” in a lawsuit against the Blackhawks for mishandling his sexual assault allegations against a former team video coach.
The Blackhawks were fined $2 million and two senior management figures – general manager Stan Bowman and senior director of hockey operations Al MacIsaac – parted company with the team in the wake of a scathing report made public Tuesday after an independent investigation into the assault allegations.
“All League and Club personnel, including Players, are required to immediately report to the Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner conduct involving NHL and/or Club personnel, on or off the ice, that is clearly inappropriate, unlawful or demonstrably abusive, or that may violate the League’s policies,” the memo reads.
“Reports can be made directly or via each organization’s internal protocols, or via the NHL Hotline, which has been operational since December 2020. The NHL Hotline is administered by Deloitte and reports can be made anonymously or for attribution based on the preference of the reporter.”
The NHL also says in the memo that it intends to continue “targeted, customized education for players, coaches and club hockey operations staff in ways that raise consciousness, understanding, cultural competence and courage – all consistent with our values of inclusion, safety and respect.”