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Hockey is Diversity Initiative celebrates immigrant players


Hockey is Diversity Initiative celebrates immigrant players

At its best, ice hockey has the ability to create camaraderie and an outlet for healthy competition between people from widely divergent backgrounds.

Immigrant players as role models

Ice hockey has the ability to transcend political boundaries and to promote teamwork between groups of individuals bonded by the crests on the front of their uniforms and not by the surnames on the back. Martin Hyun is just one of several current or former players from foreign backgrounds to rise to the sport’s top level in Germany. Likewise, players such as Croatian-Germans Sascha Martinovic and Danijel Kovacic, Turkish-German Sinan Akdag, Russian-German Michail Kozhevnikov have all lent their names and their time to promoting the Hockey is Diversity initiative.

Hockey is Diversity's promotion of integration
As one of the first steps in promoting the program, Hockey is Diversity took part in the “Fair Play: Sports and Integration Conference” in Berlin organized by State Commissioner for Social Integration Prof. Dr. Maria Böhmer.

Ultimately, the most important steps will come in providing on-ice and off-ice resources to enable people of all ages – but especially youngsters – from diverse backgrounds with the opportunity to learn and play the game. All of the players and former players involved with the initiative realize that exposure and access to hockey is both the greatest challenge and opportunity in promoting diversity.

Bonding power of ice hockey
The other part of the challenge is one of creating strength in numbers by making people recognize their commonalities rather than focusing on their differences. First and foremost, program participants are bonded by their love of hockey and experience playing a part in the sporting world’s ultimate team game. What’s more, although their family surnames and physical features may not be “typically” German and vary widely from one another, all of the program’s supporters are proud of their German citizenship.

Raising awareness on the benefits of diversity
By uniting under the Hockey is Diversity banner, the current and former players involved in the initiative create awareness of the contributions of people from an array of backgrounds to hockey in Germany. In the long run, the more people that get involved in hockey, the more the sport itself benefits. Initiative creator Hyun hopes that his own hockey journey will inspire others to take up the game.

[This article has been edited by the Operating Team]


Article type



Bill Meltzer


Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - 15:00