clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Daily Chum: Why has the NHL remained silent on HB2?

The silence is deafening.

Red Wings v Hurricanes Photo by Craig Jones/Getty Images/NHLI

Even you don’t follow basketball, you probably heard the NBA decided to move its All-Star Game out of North Carolina on Thursday. This move came because of North Carolina’s anti-transgender law, House Bill 2, which forces trans people to use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender on their birth certificate.

People smarter than me have dissected why this law is despicable and discriminatory, so I trust you’ll read them on why laws like this need to be kept off the books. While the NBA, and many of its member teams, issued statements like this:

"Our week-long schedule of All-Star events and activities is intended to be a global celebration of basketball, our league, and the values for which we stand, and to bring together all members of the NBA community -€” current and former players, league and team officials, business partners, and fans," the league announced. "While we recognize that the NBA cannot choose the law in every city, state, and country in which we do business, we do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by [the HB2 legislation]."

This is a strong stand made by the league, and it’s the right one. Adam Silver and company stuck to their guns and followed through with their threat to move the game if the law wasn’t repealed.

So what about the NHL? Obviously there was no All-Star Game to threaten to move, but you may recall the Carolina Hurricanes also play in North Carolina (Raleigh, to be specific). Here’s what the Hurricanes said at the time the law was passed:

“The Carolina Hurricanes and PNC Arena are devoted to providing a welcoming and respectful environment for all fans. We stand against all forms of discrimination.”

To the best of my knowledge, this is the last thing the team said about this bill. The statement itself has no teeth and doesn’t even name House Bill 2 or explain its content.

Yes, it’s nice the Hurricanes say they are against all forms of discrimination — but to an extent so are the people who wrote this bill. They don’t think they’re discriminating against trans people because they don’t believe that they’re people to begin with. It’s 2016 — when we discriminate, we’re smart enough to code the language.

The Hurricanes make no mention of support for the trans community nor do they implore their state government to make a change. The ‘Canes didn’t so much swing and miss here as they walked into the batter’s box, saw three strikes go by, and headed back to the dugout.

Let’s get back to the NHL. Surely the larger governing body of a sports league that considers itself progressive had something to say about this law...right? Guys?

Nope. The league said nothing, instead choosing to favor the status quo. This is the same league that thinks it’s ready for an openly gay hockey player. If the NHL doesn’t have the courage, if you can even call it that, to make a statement condemning a law that discriminates against trans people then I can only conclude that this league is absolutely not ready for a gay player. Hell, this is a league that isn’t ready for a player that doesn’t fit their Don-Cherry-inspired good-Ontario-boy mold.

This kind of silence is extremely disappointing to me as a hockey fan who would like to see the league use its power and platform for good. It’s not the NBA and it doesn’t have a carrot to dangle in front of North Carolina’s face (or a similar PR fire to put out), but the NHL had an opportunity to prove to its diverse fanbase that it cares about them and proved again that it doesn’t. That’s too bad, even if it’s not surprising anymore.


Special thanks to Zoe Claire of The Victory Press for editing this piece.