Black Excellence in Hockey

Wollman Park Partners (WPP) today announced a landmark initiative to respond to racial hate with positive and meaningful actions, highlighting diversity and inclusion for all.

The “Celebrating Black Excellence and Joy in Hockey” campaign is being launched in response to the two incidents that happened on the ice in professional hockey last month where two players of color, Jordan Subban and Boko Imama, were racially taunted. As Wollman Rink has created an inclusive, diverse event space in the heart of NYC, it is using its platform to respond to these incidents with a celebration of black joy and black excellence.

Wollman Park Partners and Turner Sports/Bleacher Report are creating a campaign showcasing the best moments in black hockey history. These moments will be featured on a Turner Sports NHL broadcast and on Bleacher Report throughout the month. In addition, youth hockey players will be asked to submit a video of their own personal moment of excellence/joy on the ice for a chance to win a trip to NYC for them and their families to skate at Wollman Rink NYC with NHL players of color, be featured in a PSA promoting the “Hockey Is For Everyone” message and attend an NHL game in the NYC area in late March.

Other partners include The Carnegie Initiative, which promotes inclusion and acceptance in hockey, the National Hockey League (NHL), the Premier Hockey Federation (PHF), the home of professional women’s hockey in North America and Turner Sports/Bleacher Report.

The campaign kicked off on Thursday, February 17th at Wollman Rink in Central Park with a press event and a panel discussion comprised of the following guests:

  • Anson Carter, former NHL player and current NHL analyst for Turner Sports (emcee and moderator)
  • Hockey Hall of Famer Willie O’Ree (Willie will be Zoomed in live from his home in California)
  • Stefanie Tomlin, VP of Wollman Park Partners, GM of Wollman Rink NYC
  • Boko Imama, AHL player that was racially harassed on the ice
  • Jordan Subban, ECHL player that was racially harassed on the ice
  • Kelly Babstock, PHF player for the Metropolitan Riveters, who is also of Canadian Indigenous heritage
  • Bryant McBride, CEO of Burst and Co-Chairman of The Carnegie Initiative

“As a safe haven for all people, Wollman Rink was reopened with inclusivity in mind to ensure that all feel a sense of belonging once they set foot into our space. At our core, it’s important to us to create a welcoming and encouraging environment for young people of color to foster their interest in all forms of ice sports. So, it was especially disheartening to hear of the racist incidents towards professional hockey players Jordan Subban and Boko Imama last month,” said Stefanie Tomlin, VP at Wollman Park Partners and General Manager of Wollman Rink. “In response, to combat the hate and encourage Black youth to continue their love for the sport, we mobilized our resources to form a multi-layered partnership with Premier Hockey Federation, The Carnegie Initiative, and Turner Sports/Bleacher Report to celebrate Black Excellence and Joy in Hockey. Through this campaign, we are seeking to become a solution to the problem by uplifting inclusivity on ice and not remaining silent on an issue that directly impacts the communities we continuously serve.”

Youth hockey players are being asked to submit videos of their own personal moment of joy and excellence on the ice for a chance to win a trip to New York with their family to skate with NHL players of color, be featured in a “Hockey is for Everyone” public service ad and attend an NHL game. The event celebrating the grand prize winner will be hosted at Wollman Rink NYC.