Throughout the last eighteen months, Black athletes and fans have broken through social barriers that previously appeared unpenetrable in the world of sports. Lewis Hamilton and Bubba Wallace have entered into a new realm in the world of high-speed racing. In the world of tennis, Naomi Osaka has elevated to the heir to Serena Williams' throne. Not to mention, Jennifer King and Maia Chaka has stepped into unprecedented roles with the NFL. In the midst of a year of major change, the Black Girls Hockey Club has amplified the voices of Black women in a sport that is dominated by white men.
Formed in 2018, the Black Girl Hockey Club seeks to expand the community of hockey fans by making the sport accessible to spectators of all backgrounds.
"As I kind of got more interested in attending games, I realized I didn't see a lot of Black folks at hockey games and I definitely didn't see a lot of Black women," R. Renee Hess of the Black Girl Hockey Club said in a recent interview.
"Not only that, but my friends and my family members were like, 'Hockey? Black people don't really like hockey, Black people don't play hockey. Are there even any Black hockey players?'"
Within the last year, interest in the Black Girl Hockey Club has grown substantially. From a summer of social unrest to the National Women's Hockey League, the club has expanded its efforts to advocate for the development of Black women through hockey and eradicate racism throughout the sport. Along the way, they have garnered support from NHL stars like P.K. Subban and NWHL star Saroya Tinker.
"I realized that this was something bigger and we could do something more than just go to games together," Hess explained.
"It was just kind of born out of a need to develop a community for Black fans and players and executives that really didn't exist before being able to bring all these people together to network and to get to know each other. It was really amazing. And it still continues to amaze me."
Most notably, the Black Girl Hockey Club has launched the "Get Uncomfortable Campaign" in an effort to disrupt racism within sports and their everyday lives.
"We're really trying to encourage everyone in and out of hockey from media to players, marketing, journalists, coaches, staff, brands and any affiliates of the sport to pledge that they will disrupt racism and that they will work with us in trying to disrupt racism on and off the ice," Tunisha Singleton of the Black Girl Hockey Club added.
Moving forward, the Black Girl Hockey Club is looking to break boundaries and set new standards for hockey and everyday life.
"This is a spot, an organization that gives voiceless fans, media folk, players, and executives a unified voice under the umbrella of the Black Girl Hockey Club," Hess stated.
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