The racist ban of hockey fans has its origins in the early days of the sport, when racist chanting of “whites only” and “black only” were commonplace in many arenas.
The chants are still commonly used to promote white-only hockey teams, and the NHL has a history of taking issue with them.
But the chants, which can be heard in arenas across the country and around the world, have since gone away.
Now, the NHL is trying to take a more positive approach to the issue, as the league tries to make amends with fans who are still offended by the chants.
“We recognize that this is a difficult time for hockey fans, and we’re trying to work with them to create a new atmosphere where fans feel welcome, feel valued, and feel that they can be themselves,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said at a news conference in Las Vegas on Thursday.
“There is no longer a place for racism in our game.
There is no place for hate in our sport.
There’s a place where we can be proud of who we are and who we want to be, and that is the NHL.”
The first attempt to make changes came in 2011, when the NHL Players Association proposed a new rule to make it easier for fans to report racially charged incidents.
But the new proposal was never adopted by the league.
“The players were disappointed,” Bettman told reporters.
“We understand the players were frustrated that we didn’t move quickly enough.”
Bettman added that it was not his decision to make, and his league would work with the players on a new proposal to eliminate the chants altogether.
But with the league facing an unprecedented wave of racism this season, some are trying to see the solution through different eyes.
The NHL Players’ Association released a statement on Thursday, saying it is “not an organization dedicated to the safety of fans.”
“It is unfortunate that our players have been targeted and that their voices are heard,” the statement read.
“The league will not tolerate this kind of behavior.”
The NHLPA is urging fans to speak out and contact the league with their concerns, but Bettman is keeping an open mind on how to move forward.
“This is not a new thing,” he said.
“It’s been going on for a long time, and it’s time for us to step up.
It’s time to try to get rid of the racist chants.”