Florida Governor Ron DeSantis iced the National Hockey League (NHL) for advertising a “discriminatory” career event that prohibited able-bodied, cisgendered white men from applying.
“The NHL is proud to announce its first-ever Pathway to Hockey Summit launching during our 2023 All Star festivities in South Florida!” The league posted to LinkedIn.
“The Pathway to Hockey Summit is a career event for diverse job seekers who are pursuing careers in hockey. The day will be filled with guest speakers and panelists, networking opportunities, and more!”
The event, which had a January 13 application deadline, is scheduled to take place in Fort Lauderdale, FL on Feb. 2.
“If you are looking for your opportunity to meet with recruiters from the NHL League Office and at least 10 of our NHL teams, we welcome you to register,” the post continued, before outlining the exclusionary eligibility details.
“Participants must be 18 years of age or older, based in the U.S., and identify as female, Black, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latino, Indigenous, LGBTQIA+, and/or a person with a disability. Veterans are also welcome and encouraged to attend.”
DeSantis’ spokesperson, Bryan Griffin, called for the NHL to walk back the event’s eligibility requirements in a statement released on Friday
“Discrimination of any sort is not welcome in the state of Florida, and we do not abide by the woke notion that discrimination should be overlooked if applied in a politically popular manner or against a politically unpopular demographic,” the Governor’s office said.
“We are fighting all discrimination in our schools and our workplaces, and we will fight it in publicly accessible places of meeting or activity.”
“We call upon the National Hockey League to immediately remove and denounce the discriminatory prohibitions it has imposed on attendance to the 2023 ‘Pathway to Hockey’ summit,” the statement concluded.
The event is likely a response to the NHL’s first comprehensive diversity and inclusion report, which was released last October.
The 24-page report detailed that in 2022, 83.6% of all employees were white, 61.86% were men, and 93.14% identified as heterosexual.
“We are working to better understand and accelerate our engagement across all layers of diversity — including nationality, race, gender identify, sexual orientation, disability and religion,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman remarked.
“Each day, we are committed to ensuring inclusion becomes more of ‘who we are’ than ‘what we do.'”
At the end of November, the NFL announced their participation in a hockey tournament where all players were transgender or nonbinary.
“The NHL is proud to support this past weekend’s Team Trans Draft Tournament in Middleton, Wisconsin,” the league tweeted.
“This was the first tournament comprised entirely of transgender and nonbinary players, with around 80 folks participating!”
When one Twitter user criticized the tournament, the NHL shot back: “Trans women are women. Trans men are men. Nonbinary identity is real.”
During the tournament, a transgender man was concussed, when a physically larger transgender woman immediately checked him as soon as he skated onto the ice.
The injured player had to be taken out of the game on stretcher, after the match was delayed by 17 minutes.
In a lengthy statement on Dec. 14, the Team Trans Draft Tournament walked back the NHL’s involvement in the event.
“While the NHL is supportive of providing accessibility to all organizations that love hockey, this tournament was organized by Team Trans – NOT the NHL, and was done with intentionality to create teams with even skill levels.”
They also noted that “everyone who steps on the ice to play this sport knows there is a risk of injury,” and the teams were comprised of an equal number of players from each skill level when they were formed.
“The injured player has recovered, and there is no ill will between the two players involved,” the statement concluded.