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🏒 No room for racism in hockey


Is hockey for everyone?

Hey Denver, it’s Producer Paul from the pod. I’ve got an update from the Avs’ playoff run for you:

Let me start with an uncomfortable and unavoidable truth: Hockey is SOOOOOOO white. By last count, more than 90% of NHL players — and probably an even larger percentage of coaches, managers, and executives — identify as white men.

And that’s a problem. Because hockey is great! And it could be even better if the community around it was more welcoming and inclusive. Which is why the latest turn in the Avs’ second-round series against the St. Louis Blues is so unfortunate.

Here’s what happened.
Just under seven minutes into the first period of the St. Louis-Colorado playoff game on Saturday night, Avs center Nazem Kadri crashed into Blues star goalie Jordan Binnington, who had to leave the game with what looked like a knee injury. Binnington is not expected to return to the playoffs.

Then on Sunday, the Avalanche shared this statement with FOX31: “The Colorado Avalanche organization is aware of threats made toward Nazem Kadri and is working with law enforcement to investigate the threats.”

Kadri has always been a hard-nosed player — the kind of player you hate to play against, but love to have on your team. Oh, and — Kadri is of Lebanese descent. So when he angers an opposing team’s fans, like he did Saturday night, it often exposes the ugly racism that exists in this too-white community.

Akim Aliu, a former NHLer of color, spoke up in support of Kadri. Aliu dealt with this exact ugliness when he played for the Colorado Eagles.

As for Kadri himself, he hasn’t commented on the situation directly. But there was a moment in a post-game press conference on Saturday night where I thought he summed it up nicely. Kadri was discussing the play in question when a petulant Binnington threw a water bottle at him. To which, Kadri responded, “Not much I can do, man. Not much I can do. I was just going for a loose puck.”

What is the NHL doing about this?
Since 1998, the NHL has been running an initiative called “Hockey is for Everyone,” including investments in youth programs and recognition for BIPOC, AAPI, disabled, LGBTQ+, and women players. It also includes a wide array of resources to learn more about their work making the sport more inclusive.

Kadri and the Avs will be back in Denver for Game 5 against St. Louis on Wednesday night.

Further Reading:

  • The NHL Says ‘Hockey Is For Everyone.’ Black Players Aren’t So Sure. (FiveThirtyEight)
  • Willie O’Ree, inducted into Hockey Hall of Fame, says his diversity ‘work is not done’ (Color of Hockey)

— Paul Karolyi

From our sponsors: Denver Film

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More news you should know

🥜 Double check your peanut butter: Jif Peanut Butter has issued a recall on a number of products due to salmonella contamination. See if your peanut butter is on this list of contaminated jars (and what to do if it is). [Jif]

🏗️Currently in the historic preservation hot seat: The building at 900 Bannock Street that used to serve as the offices and warehouse space for Niles and Moser Cigar Company. Landmark Preservation says the building is an example of a Modern-style warehouse that is becoming increasingly rare. Plus, it’s an identifiable and historical neighborhood landmark. [Denverite

🏃‍♀️ The “greatest female distance runner” in Colorado prep history. That’s what they’re saying about recent Cherry Creek High School graduate, Riley Stewart. She holds seven state track titles and three 5A cross-country championships, plus two state records. Next month, Stanford-bound Stewart is headed to Oregon to hopefully shatter some national records![Denver Post

Hello operator, please give me… 983? ☎️

“I get that (303) pride, but I’m starting to come to terms with the fact that it is a little bit much…”

303, 720, and Now, 983. What Does Your Area Code Say About You?
Starting in June, Denverites registering a new phone number might get a new area code: 983. Old Denver heads are really proud of their 303 and (to a lesser extent) 720 area codes! So host Bree Davies, producer Paul Karolyi, and (me!) newsletter editor Peyton Garcia are wading into the messy native v. transplant conversation at the core of this conversation.

This week’s things to do

🧀 THURSDAY: Go out for beers and fancy cheese
Bruz Beers teams up with Truffle Cheese for a curated evening of fine brews and charcuterie. Pinkies out! [$30]

🍗 THURSDAY: Eat ALL the chicken
It’s time for one of my favorite food festivals of the summer, the Chicken Fight Festival! Taking place this year at Elitch Gardens, gear up for five stages of live music, bottomless booze, and unlimited fried chicken all night long. [$109+]

🚐 FRIDAY: Take a ride on the Pegasus
CDOT launches its new I-70 weekend mountain transit service, Pegasus, on Friday. Find the van’s route, schedule, and fare prices here. [$6-$20 one way]

🍹 ALL WEEK: Cocktails for a cause
It’s the final week to take advantage of this month’s Cocktail for a Cause fundraiser at Cart-Driver. For the month of May, 100% of proceeds from the “Beer & A Shot” order (Cityscapes Mexican lager from Ratio and a Paloma-inspired shot) will be given to CHOW, a local nonprofit fostering mental health support services for hospitality employees. [$13]

👉 Stay tuned for more: Don’t miss Friday’s newsletter for our regularly scheduled weekend event roundup!

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