*Every ethnic group has its stereotypical clichés of “what is” and “what is not” acceptable. For Black Americans it could be “we don’t swim,” or for White Americans, it could be “we can’t dance.” Whichever crazy myth you decide to believe, the truth is that people aren’t tied to any one thing, just because of their ethnicity.
Take Tennessee State University for instance. The school recently decided to challenge another stereotype regarding sports and minorities, by exploring the idea of introducing ice hockey to their campus. If they choose to incorporate the game, it would be the first time that a Historically Black College and University (HBCU), has offered ice hockey and would be the first varsity hockey program in the entire state.
“The idea of establishing a collegiate hockey program at TSU is a tremendous opportunity as the nation’s first HBCU to take on this endeavor,” President Glenda Glover said to CNN, according to Black Enterprise. “This allows us to expand the sport, increase diversity, and introduce a new fan base.”
The National Hockey League’s recent study shows that Hockey is continuously growing among both Blacks and Hispanics. There are at least 13 Black players on NCAA Division I and III women’s hockey rosters in the current season, which compared to 2019, is a huge spike, considering there were only four, according to the NHL.
However, the NHL has previously been under much scrutiny by its Black players for not doing more to protect Black players and all-around include Black fans. Last summer amid the Black Lives Matter movement, a group of former and current Black NHL players created the Hockey Diversity Alliance in an effort to “eradicate systemic racism and intolerance in hockey,” reports Black Enterprise.
Yet, the group eventually broke from the NHL in October, because the league wasn’t supportive of their cause.
In contrast, Kevin Westgarth, NHL Vice President, told CNN that this could be an amazing opportunity for Hockey.
“Taking this initial step with Tennessee State University, led by their ambitious and visionary leadership, awakens thought on potential playing opportunities, new facilities, and new avenues to watch live hockey, all driven by an HBCU and NHL club in the heart of Nashville,” Westgarth told CNN. “This could be a game-changer,” according to Black Enterprise.
Despite these unfortunate racial biases, TSU has clearly decided to turn a new leaf and operate with a new perspective, hoping that this alliance brings a different and exciting angle to the game!