The CI Announces Renowned List of Speakers, Topics For Inaugural Summit

The CI Announces Renowned List of Speakers, Topics For Inaugural Summit

Scholar and author Ibram X. Kendi To Headline The Carnegie Initiative Inaugural Summit in Boston, January 17-18, 2022 

Panels and Discussions on all areas of inclusion and diversity issues in and around the sport of hockey to take place on the days surrounding Willie O’Ree’s Number Retirement Ceremony With The Boston Bruins 

(Toronto, Ontario and Boston, Mass. December 29, 2021)- Some of the most influential individuals in business, education, diversity and inclusion at all levels of hockey will gather for the Carnegie Initiative Inaugural Summit in Boston, January 17-18, 2022, a two-day discussion and open forum dedicated to driving change and awareness for all peoples throughout the sport of hockey. The event will be held at The Hub on Causeway, adjacent to North Station and TD Garden, and will conclude with Willie O’Ree’s retirement ceremony during the Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes game that Tuesday night. In addition to a limited number of onsite attendees, all details to date can be seen here

“Our goal with this initial conference will be to attach action to words,” said Carnegie Initiative co-founder Bryant McBride, the first black executive at the National Hockey League. “Yes, we are going to talk about challenges and opportunities that exist throughout both hockey and society, but what we really want to accomplish is to task all those in person and watching around the world via Live Stream with doing something, to do the work, no matter how small to help invoke change and growth in a sport we love so much. That is how we succeed in step one of our efforts, and how we keep growing forward.”

“I am proud to carry on the legacy of my father, Herb Carnegie,” said Bernice Carnegie co-founder of this initiative and formerly the executive director of the Herbert H. Carnegie Future Aces Foundation. “I feel like we have come full circle in revisiting the values my father promoted when he established the first registered hockey school in Canada in 1955. There is no doubt that he loved this sport! Our family is overjoyed to see how his influence continues to inspire a movement to bring people together, working for a common goal of making hockey and society welcoming and more inclusive for all.”

Headlining the program will be noted scholar Ibram X. Kendi as well as words from Hockey Hall of Famer O’Ree. Among those to be featured speakers will be:

Dr. Mickey Allen – Driving the interest in having Tennessee State University create the just announced – the first Men’s and Women’s hockey programs at a Historically Black College and University.

Jordyn and Kyla Bear– 17-year-old First Nations twins and rising hockey stars, now freshman athletes at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Brian Burke– Longtime NHL executive and President of Hockey Operations for the Pittsburgh Penguins, prominent supporter of equality and social activism in hockey.  

Anson Carter– Retired NHL player and music entrepreneur, now hockey analyst for TNT.

Grant Fuhr– Six-time NHL All-star, Stanley Cup champion, Hockey Hall of Famer and champion for equality and opportunity in all levels of hockey 

Chanel Keenan – Disabled rights advocate who serves the Seattle Kraken as their first intersectionality consultant.

Sheldon Kennedy – Former NHL player, he leads the Respect Group, which just announced an NHL Partnership with regards to abuse prevention and reporting.

Ted Nolan– Veteran NHL player, and NHL Coach of the Year, he is committed to developing opportunities and awareness in the First Nation communities.

Angela Ruggiero– Four-time Olympian, Hockey Hall of Famer, entrepreneur, champion of equality and opportunity across all sports.

Harnarayan Singh– Canadian sports announcer and journalist and host of the Punjabi-language broadcast of Hockey Night in Canada.

Tyler Tumminia– Commissioner, Premier Hockey Federation. 

Topics for the conference will include:  Hockey experiences as it pertains to: Education, Media, First Nations Peoples, Disabled Parahockey, The LGBTQ+ Community and a forward looking session on solutions called “The Future of Hockey Lab.” 

Ibram X. Kendi is one of America’s foremost historians and leading antiracist scholars. He is a National Book Award-winning and #1 New York Times bestselling author of eight books. Dr. Kendi is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and the Founding Director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research. He is also the 2020-2021 Frances B. Cashin Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for the Advanced Study at Harvard University. Dr. Kendi is a contributor writer at The Atlantic and a CBS News Racial Justice Contributor. In 2020, Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world. He was awarded a 2021 MacArthur Fellowship, popularly known as the Genius Grant. Dr. Kendi also has produced five #1 New York Times bestsellers. 

The foundation is named in honor of legendary hockey player and social justice pioneer Herb Carnegie. It is co-founded by Bernice Carnegie and Bryant McBride. Bernice is Herb’s daughter and co-author of their family autobiography, “A Fly in a Pail of Milk”, featuring Part II – Lessons passed on from father to daughter.  Bryant is a longtime businessman and former National Hockey League executive. McBride co-produced “Willie,” the award-winning documentary about hockey pioneer and Hall of Famer Willie O’Ree, who broke the color barrier in the NHL. 

The Carnegie Initiative is working independently with executives, teams, leagues, federations, brands and leading academic institutions across North America to champion the successes of diverse audiences in hockey as well as work to address and correct issues in the game on all levels with regard to any area of diversity, equity and inclusion. It will accelerate the work started by Herb Carnegie, a Canadian of Jamaican descent, more than 60 years ago when he launched his first hockey school in Toronto to teach hockey skills while fostering a spirit of diversity and inclusiveness.

The Carnegie Initiative (CI) works to

  • Ensure that hockey is inclusive, supportive and welcoming to all. 
  • Use rigorous academic research to identify and solve the sport’s biggest issues
  • Examine the efforts of governing bodies and other stewards of the game to make hockey more diverse and inclusive
  • Shine a light on success stories and best practices through media partners
  • Create substantive, authentic change throughout the hockey world

In short, advance the change in the culture of hockey.

Carnegie’s hockey career began in 1938 and ran through the mid 1950’s. His chance at playing in the NHL came in the late 1940’s when he was given a tryout with the New York Rangers and offered a contract to play in the Rangers’ minor league system, but because he was offered considerably less money than he was earning in the Quebec League he turned down all three offers made by the Rangers organization during his tryout. As a black man playing hockey in the 1940’s and 1950’s, Carnegie endured his share of racism. In one famous incident, Conn Smythe, the owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs, watched Carnegie play as a member of the Toronto Young Rangers. He is alleged to have said either that he would accept Carnegie on the team if he were white or that he would pay $10,000 to anyone who could turn Carnegie white.

After retiring, Carnegie had a successful business career as a financial planner with the Investors Group, and in 1954, he founded one of Canada’s first hockey schools, Future Aces, and through his work in training young hockey players, became a member of both the Order of Ontario and the country’s highest civilian award, the Order of Canada. His hockey career was recognized when he was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2001, and the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 2014. He passed away in Toronto in March 2012 at age 92.  The Carnegie Initiative’s leadership team includes Stephanie J. Geosits, Executive Director, and Ken Gelman, Chief Commercial Officer. Geosits worked alongside McBride at the NHL in launching the league’s first diversity programs and Gelman was one of the initial creators of NHL Center Ice. Board members include well-known figures within hockey and in business, ranging from Hall of Famer Grant Fuhr, veteran NHL executives Brian Burke and Ted Nolan, Olympian Sarah Nurse, legendary broadcasters Ron MacLean and Harnarayan Singh, women’s hockey pioneer and Hall of Famer Angela James, and other key leaders at the grassroots level representing members of the BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and parasport communities.

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