Seattle Kraken aims for diversity on and off the ice

VIDEO: Seattle Kraken aims for diversity on and off the ice

The Seattle Kraken’s goal is to lead the way in diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“There are parts of the NHL and this game and culture of the NHL that may be a bit broken and we want to change this and make sure everybody can find their place and voice in this game, and it starts with giving the fans and organization a front office they can be proud of,” said Kraken’s team broadcaster Everett Fitzhugh.

The Kraken’s play-by-play announcer Everett Fitzhugh is the first Black NHL team broadcaster, making history before the puck drops on their inaugural season.

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“Hockey is a predominantly white sport, and it’s a sport that has a gate around it, and it’s not super accessible to people don’t look like the people that are playing it. It’s important to make a very conscious effort to make your team as diverse as possible and I hope we’re setting a really strong standard that people are going to follow,” said Kraken’s De’Aira Anderson.

The team’s corporate communications manager De’Aira Anderson is proud to be with an organization that focuses on racial diversity through their hiring and community initiatives to break gender and racial barriers.

“We have leadership that looks to us to talk about these experiences, and it makes it even more accessible to make those business decisions to invest in a person of color,” said Anderson.

The Kraken is also the first NHL team to join the Black Girl Hockey Club’s anti-racism “Get Uncomfortable” campaign, to create a welcoming space for BIPOC hockey players and fans. They recently released a co-branded beanie to fund the group’s scholarship program.

“Bring the initiatives in house, they’re not just one person’s responsibility, but all of our responsibilities and in line with that, we have team and organizations wide metrics and initiatives that we measure ourselves against,” said Kraken’s Kendall Tyson.

Kendall Tyson is the Kraken’s vice president for strategy and business intelligence. She believes the team’s three-rink training facility at Northgate will provide incredible opportunities for the younger generation that would not typically have access to the sport. The practice center will be open to the public, giving the team a space to invest in youth hockey programs.

“Representation really matters, seeing people like Kendall like Fitz breaking the ground into these roles is really affecting the younger generation & affecting everyone to think I can do that as well,” said Kraken’s Zack Peggins.

Zack Peggins is the team’s social media specialist. As the team’s second employee hired, he’s seen the importance they’ve put on inclusion since the beginning.

“We’re putting the league on notice, I know there have been teams reaching out, saying how are you doing this, how are you able to put such a premium and emphasis on diversity and things like that, because it’s the right thing to do,” said Fitzhugh.

The team will announce their plans for the youth hockey programs at the Kraken Training Center this Spring. The expansion draft is July 21 and the Kraken season is expected to start in October.

For information on the Seattle Kraken, visit this link.

For information on Black Girl Hockey Club, visit this link.