Nashville Predators: Two Former Players Join Hockey Diversity Alliance

Joel Ward #29 of the Nashville Predators (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Joel Ward #29 of the Nashville Predators (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /

With hockey looking to make a comeback soon, former Nashville Predators players are making a difference in the community and in the world.

Former Nashville Predators players Wayne Simmonds and Joel Ward are joining the Hockey Diversity Alliance, which is being formed to “eradicate racism and inequality in hockey”.

Here’s the post from Simmonds on his social media account:

Both Simmonds and Ward will be on the alliance’s executive committee, while Evander Kane of the San Jose Sharks and Akim Aliu will be official leaders of the alliance.

Coming together for change

This is an amazing initiative that is taking shape, with Kane and Aliu taking the lead. Aliu got drafted in 2007 by the Chicago Blackhawks, but has only appeared in seven NHL games.

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Aliu has been entrenched with this issue of diversity in hockey for a while now. He wrote a very telling and eye-opening piece for the Player’s Tribune entitled “Hockey Is Not for Everyone” just a couple weeks ago.

Hockey is a beautiful sport, but in no way is it perfect. There are things that need to happen to make the sport more inclusive and uproot some of the nastiness that’s going on behind closed doors.

Aliu talks about all of this in his piece that I encourage everyone to go read.

Ward and Simmonds both formerly played for the Nashville Predators and were outstanding representatives of the franchise.

Simmonds had a brief stint with the Predators, playing in just 17 games in 2019. But his reputation in the hockey community speaks for itself as a 12-year veteran who has played in over 900 games.

Ward’s impact on the Predators organization was much bigger. He grew his NHL career with the Predators for three seasons from 2008 to 2011. You’ll find a lot of fans today who always bring up Ward as one of their favorites of the Predators all-time.

In a time when there’s a lot of negative in this world, this is something we can all join hands and get behind. I hope many more NHL players and coaches with big platforms rise up to support this alliance.

With strong actions like this, the NHL and hockey in general can truly start becoming a sport that’s “for everyone”. That’s the ultimate goal to make sure the beautiful sport of hockey is truly for everyone and becomes a more diverse and accepting place for anyone who wants to be a hockey player.

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Props go out to Simmonds, Ward, Kane, Aliu and all the others who are supporting the Hockey Diversity Alliance.