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Concerns About Ice, Environment Spur NHL to Fight Climate Change by Thinking Green

Erik Brady, USA Today Sports

(Photo: The Associated Press)

(Photo: The Associated Press)

Hockey features glove saves, skate saves and stick saves — though these are nothing, really, next to the most audacious save on which the NHL has set its sights:

Save the planet.

This may sound like a joke, at first. What does hockey have to do with environmental policy? Well, for one thing, the game is played on ice. And frozen ponds, where so many of the league’s players learned to skate, are in trouble. The average length of the skating season may shrink by a third in eastern Canada and by 20% in western Canada in coming decades.

That’s according to research in the NHL’s 2018 sustainability report, which will be released Wednesday morning. The report assesses the league’s own environmental impact and its commitment to fighting climate change.

“What I would say is when we do this work, we try to do it as apolitically as possible,” says Omar Mitchell, NHL vice president for corporate social responsibility, “because at the end of the day, as our commissioner would say, this is the right thing to do.”

More than a dozen federal agencies issued a report late last year that said humans are the dominant cause of a rise in global temperatures that has led to the warmest period in the history of civilization. That report said global average temperatures have increased 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit over the past 115 years.

That’s a period of time that encompasses the rise of hockey. The NHL celebrated its centennial in 2017 — and wants to be around for its bicentennial some 100 years hence.

“How we think about our environment and how we think about sustainability is going to be a critical element in making sure our sport has a future,” says Kim Davis, NHL executive vice president of social impact, growth initiatives and legislative affairs.

According to last year’s Environment Gallup Poll Social Series survey, 59% of Americans agreed that protection of the environment should be given priority even at the risk of limiting the amount of energy supplies, up from 41% who agreed in 2011. And 56% said protection of the environment should be prioritized over economic growth.

The NHL’s report is voluntary. “And what gives the report its teeth is that we did a carbon inventory” of the league’s own environmental impact, Mitchell says. “Hockey is a very energy-intensive sport. Our analysis shows about 66% of our carbon footprint is attributed to energy usage to create an ice sheet. So what we are trying to do is to promote innovations that will lower energy consumption within our buildings.”

Read the full story here.

Blackhawks To Wear St. Patrick’s Day Jerseys During Warm-Ups On March 18


Blackhawks logo

The Chicago Blackhawks will wear one-of-a-kind green St. Patrick’s Day warm-up jerseys on Sunday, March 18, before hosting the St. Louis Blues at the United Center at 6:30 p.m.

Each autographed warm-up jersey will be auctioned off online. All jerseys will be auctioned off to fans on auctions.nhl.com from Sunday, March 18, through Sunday, April 1, with all proceeds benefitting the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation. Select green apparel will be available for purchase at United Center retail locations including the Madhouse Team Store and Blackhawks Store located by section 117, in addition to the Michigan Avenue location.

The Blackhawks, in partnership with preferred energy partner Constellation, will also host ‘Go Green Night’ at the United Center on Tuesday, March 20, when the team faces off against the Colorado Avalanche at 7:30 p.m. Constellation will provide the first 10,000 fans to enter the building with reusable, Blackhawks-branded cooler bags.

As part of its ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability, the NHL, its member clubs and partners are celebrating its third annual NHL Green™ initiative, expanding from one week to a month-long campaign for the first time. Since its launch in 2010, NHL Green™ has been committed to promoting green business practices across the League as well as preserving the environment, including the frozen ponds that inspired and cultivated the game more than 100 years ago. Looking ahead to the next century, the League will ‘Play It Forward’ as it continues to ensure hockey stays connected to its roots while being sustainable for future generations. League-wide efforts to innovate, transform and inspire across key environmental categories include water restoration initiatives, landfill reduction, efficient electricity use, sustainable landscaping, and increased recycling via gear donations. For more information, visit NHL.com/Green.

In-game presentation during Tuesday’s contest will feature various videos on how to maintain environmentally friendly practices. Constellation will supply Green-e Energy Certified Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to match the electricity use during the ‘Go Green Night’ game with energy generated from environmentally-responsible renewable resources minimizing the carbon footprint of the game. Green-e Energy certifies that renewable energy certificates meet the minimum environmental and consumer protection standards established by the non-profit Center for Resource Solutions. For more information on Green-e Energy certification requirements, please visit green-e.org.

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March Marks NHL’s Sustainability Initiative

The Hockey Writers
By Aaron Schmidtke

Gary Bettman has been a very outspoken advocate for environmentally-friendly initiatives. (Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE)

Gary Bettman has been a very outspoken advocate for environmentally-friendly initiatives. (Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE)

Organizations and associations around the world have shifted their focus to environmentally-friendly initiatives that incorporate their values with those of green business practices.

While the majority of sports associations have been hesitant, the National Hockey League pounced on the opportunity to build relationships and partnerships with several ecological companies.

The NHL is the first professional sports league in North America to issue a sustainability report, documenting and disclosing its carbon footprint. It is also the only sports league to make the Environmental Protection Agency’s Top 100 list.

In 2010, the league launched NHL Green, an initiative that targets environmental sustainability throughout the sport.

Just a year later, the NHL partnered with Green Sports Alliance, which leverages the cultural and market influence of sports to promote healthy, sustainable communities.

“Imagine if all sports participated in the support and the advancement of renewal power in North America? The NHL has already proven that’s possible,” said Green Sports Alliance Executive Director Justin J. Zeulner.

All 31 NHL clubs are members of the Green Sports Alliance. The non-profit organization is assisting teams to actively contribute to combating climate change and encourage energy efficiency.

Read the full story here.