The NHL is a very charitable league, making the communities around them better. Those efforts were recognized by ESPN with a league-wide award at their Sports Humanitarian Awards.
On the eve of the ESPY’s, ESPN’s popular award show, the network held the Sports Humanitarian Awards in Los Angeles. The Sports Humanitarian Awards are sponsored through a partnership with the Bristol-Myers Squibb Company and gives out awards in several categories, including the “League Humanitarian Of The Year Award”, which has been awarded to the NHL.
The NHL is well-known for its philanthropy. Throughout games the entire season, fans can see the teams and athletes supporting initiatives such as Hockey Fights Cancer and the NHL’s Hockey Is for Everyone program.
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Those efforts didn’t go unnoticed during the Sports Humanitarian Awards. The league was awarded the top prize given to a professional sports league during last night’s ceremony.
“The League Humanitarian Leadership Award honors a professional sports league for driving social impact by using all of its systematic resources.
The National Hockey League was recognized with the League Humanitarian Leadership Award for their efforts to create the most inclusive experience for the entire hockey community. The NHL is the architect of hockey’s Declaration of Principles — a joint commitment supported by 17 hockey organizations from around the world serving professionals and amateurs — to promote, inspire and effectuate positive changes in the hockey experience for all players and their families.”
ESPN went on to give credit to the NHL’s education-based initiatives, where hockey is used as a valuable tool to help children learn about math and science. They also took note of the league’s ongoing contribution to making the sport more accessible to the economically disadvantaged.
Cost barriers are a major reason the growth of the sport is stunted among participants in low-income markets. And in places where money may not be the thing stopping participation in the sport of hockey, the NHL also uses their landmark and flagship “Hockey Is For Everyone” program to grow the sport to new fans and new audiences.
While the NHL makes many of its charitable causes well-known, their commitment to environmentalism is one that seems to have flown under the radar in the eyes of hockey fans. ESPN made sure to take notice. The NHL’s commitment to being environmentally friendly stretches way beyond a few recycling bins in their arenas and reusable water bottles:
“The League’s environmental stewardship remains unsurpassed as it counterbalanced 100% of its energy needs for three consecutive years, launched a first-of-its-kind water restoration program, and offset the carbon footprint for air travel during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.”
The event itself served the purpose to assist its very honorees with their charitable endeavors, with ESPN donating over $1 million dollars to charitable causes associated with the award winners. In addition, the ceremony acted as a fundraiser for The Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund at the V Foundation. It was announced that over $1 million was raised for that fund, as well.
Some things are bigger than sports, and the NHL has always been a driving force in serving the hockey community as a whole while trying to make the society around them better.
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While hockey season may end, the NHL and the sports world never stop their charitable endeavors. Hats off to ESPN for recognizing their efforts. Also a very special thank you to Belen Michelis from ESPN Communications for the recap of last night’s event! The ESPY Awards air Wednesday, July 10th at 8:00 pm Eastern on ABC.