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Wollman Park Partners, PHF, Carnegie Initiative Announce ‘Black Excellence and Joy In Hockey’ Campaign

‘Celebrating Black Experience and Joy in Hockey’ Panel

Wollman Park Partners (WPP) today announced a landmark initiative to respond to racial hate with positive and meaningful actions, highlighting diversity and inclusion for all.

The “Celebrating Black Excellence and Joy in Hockey” campaign is being launched in response to the two incidents that happened on the ice in professional hockey last month where two players of color, Jordan Subban and Boko Imama, were racially taunted. As Wollman has created an inclusive, diverse event space in the heart of NYC, it is using its platform to respond to this black hate with a celebration of black joy and black excellence.

Wollman and Turner Sports/Bleacher Report are creating a campaign showcasing the best moments in black hockey history. These moments will be featured on a Turner Sports NHL broadcast and on Bleacher Report throughout the month. In addition, youth hockey players will be asked to submit a video of their own personal moment of excellence/joy on the ice for a chance to win a trip to NYC for them and their families to skate on Wollman rink with NHL players of color, be featured in a PSA promoting the “Hockey Is For Everyone” message and attend an NHL game in the NYC area in late March.

Other partners include The Carnegie Initiative which promotes inclusion and acceptance in hockey, the National Hockey League (NHL), the Premier Hockey Federation (PHF) the home of professional women’s hockey in North America and Turner Sports/Bleacher Report.

The campaign kicks off on Thursday, February 17th from 2-3pm ET at Wollman Rink in Central Park with a press event and a panel discussion comprised of the following guests:

* Anson Carter, former NHL player and current NHL analyst for Turner Sports (emcee and moderator) 

* Hockey Hall of Famer Willie O’Ree (Willie will be Zoomed in live from his home in California)

* Stefanie Tomlin, VP of Wollman Park Partners, GM of Wollman NYC

* Boko Imama, AHL player that was racially harassed on the ice

* Jordan Subban, ECHL player that was racially harassed on the ice

* Kelly Babstock, PHF player for the Metropolitan Riveters, who is also of Canadian Indigenous heritage

* Bryant McBride, CEO of Burst and Co-Chairman of The Carnegie Initiative 

“As a safe haven for all people, Wollman Rink was reopened with inclusivity in mind to ensure that all feel a sense of belonging once they set foot into our space. At our core, it’s important to us to create a welcoming and encouraging environment for young people of color to foster their interest in all forms of ice sports. So, it was especially disheartening to hear of the racist incidents towards professional hockey players Jordan Subban and Boko Imama last month,” said Stefanie Tomlin, VP at Wollman Park Partners and General Manager of Wollman Rink. “In response, to combat the hate and encourage Black youth to continue their love for the sport, we mobilized our resources to form a multi-layered partnership with Premier Hockey Federation, The Carnegie Initiative, and Turner Sports/Bleacher Report to celebrate Black excellence and joy in hockey. Through this campaign, we are seeking to become a solution to the problem by uplifting inclusivity on ice and not remaining silent on an issue that directly impacts the communities we continuously serve.”

“The PHF is committed to championing diversity, empowerment and inclusion and we are proud to help raise awareness and excitement around this trailblazing program,” said Johanna Boynton, Chair and Principal Owner of the Toronto Six on behalf of the PHF Board of Governors. “Hockey is for everyone, and I’m honored to join so many inspiring leaders at Wollman Rink and pledge our support to casting a bright light on important stories and moments that grow this great game.”

About Jerry Milani

Jerry Milani is a writer and public relations executive living in Bloomfield, N.J. He has worked in P.R. for more than 30 years in college and conference sports media relations, two agencies and for the International Fight League, a team-based mixed martial arts league, and as a freelance professional. His PR clients have included Wizard World and FAN EXPO, which produce pop culture and celebrity conventions across North America, USA Wrestling, the National Lacrosse League, Strat-O-Matic Media, the Pacific Life Open and Pilot Pen Tennis tournaments and dozens of others. Milani is also the director of athletic communications for Caldwell University. He is a proud graduate of North Rockland High School and Fordham University and when not attending a Yankees, Rams or Cougars game can be reached at Jerry (at) JerryMilani (dot) com.

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