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NHL VP Kim Davis talks social policies, inclusivity

NHL executive vice president Kim Davis says the league has struggled to create

NHL executive vice president Kim Davis opened up about criticism, punitive action, and NHL’s social policies in an exclusive interview with Yahoo Sports Canada. (Getty Images)

Kim Davis is the executive vice president of social impact, growth initiatives and legislative affairs for the NHL. Davis and her department are responsible for making hockey a safer space for marginalized communities and enacting initiatives such as Hockey Is For Everyone.

I’ve been an outspoken critic of Davis, stemming from our first interview in 2019 about where the NHL failed in implementing an effective anti-racism strategy.

Davis and I spoke for 30 minutes at the Carnegie Initiative Summit on Saturday, hosted at Toronto’s TIFF Bell Lightbox. We spoke about a number of issues regarding the league’s approach to anti-racism and sexism, along with the media’s role in facilitating these conversations.

Here is a lightly condensed version of our conversation.

When we spoke in 2019, you told me that you wanted to be judged on the progress your department made. In the four years since we last spoke, how would you assess the way the NHL has progressed on its diversity and inclusion initiatives?

Lots of dimensions, I would say at the highest level. Producing the league’s first-ever diversity, equity and inclusion impact report of October 2022 was a milestone for the league. Not just in terms of the transparency of information from demographics of the league and the clubs, but also the development of the seven-point framework that is really governing how we’re creating consistency across the league and all the clubs.

I think events like this point to the fact that we are beginning to normalize in the sport of hockey these conversations. I often say getting comfortable with uncomfortable conversations. And I think that the league has played a role in helping create an environment up and down the hockey spine, the ecosystem that brings us to a moment where we can all engage in a real productive way in these types of conversations.

What would you say to people who are critical of your leadership and your department, who say you’re not moving fast enough?

Well, I mean, are you ever moving fast enough when you are behind in any kind of changes? If you look at the history of those who have been on the front line of change, you have to be prepared for a certain level of criticism and you can’t let that be daunting. We’re all human — I’m not going to do everything that is going to be…

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