The Hockey Writers
By Aaron Schmidtke
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.
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The Tampa Bay Lightning will host ‘Go Green Night’, presented by Mosaic, Waste Connections, TECO Energy and Coca-Cola, to encourage sustainability initiatives and environmental awareness when the team takes on the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday, March 13 at AMALIE Arena.
The Lightning are encouraging their fans coming to the game to ride their bikes to AMALIE Arena. Fans that bike to the game can utilize Alert Today Florida’s complimentary bike valet which will be located on Ford Thunder Alley. Cyclists will be entered into a raffle to win a free bike at each of the Lightning’s next five games starting Tuesday. As part of Florida Bike Month in March, staring Tuesday fans who ride their bikes to Bolts home games this month will be entered to win a Lightning beach cruiser, custom built by Flying Fish Bikes ($1,000 retail value). They will take a photo at the bike valet and post on social media using the hashtag #BiketotheBolts to be eligible.
Coca-Cola will be rewarding fans for recycling with their “Caught Green Handed” campaign during the game. TECO Energy will be on Ford Thunder Alley showing off different electric vehicles and how they positively impact the environment. In partnership with TECO, AMALIE Arena will also be using renewable energy all evening on Go Green Night. In addition, Bonneville Environmental Foundation’s Water Restoration Certificates (WRCs) have been purchased for every game during the month of March.
WRCs offer a first-of-its-kind tool to restore unavoidable water footprint gallon-for-gallon to critically dewatered rivers and streams. As the only provider of WRCs in the country, BEF manages a growing and diverse project portfolio throughout the United States. Each WRC represents 1,000 gallons of water (the Lightning purchased 900) restored in stream from projects, helping directly restore the economic and ecological vitality of freshwater ecosystems. Water Restoration Certificates® purchased from BEF have restored water to critically dewatered rivers and streams equivalent to a total of 900,000 gallons.
As part of its ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability, the National Hockey League is celebrating its third annual celebration of NHL Green, expanding from one week to a month-long campaign for the first time during the month of March. 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.
London Knights ice hockey team. Image Source: Climate Action.
The London Knights ice hockey team in Canada has recently implemented a range of sustainability initiatives, including planting trees for every save its goalkeeper makes.
The team’s first ever green event was launched over the weekend during a home game at the Budweiser Gardens in Ontario.
“Over the last year, there has been a conscious effort by our team at Budweiser Gardens to evaluate our practices and procedures and look for ways that we can implement environmentally responsible practices”, said Brian Ohl, the stadium’s general manager.
The team has worked with local environmental groups to launch the ‘Saves for Trees’ programme at the game. In total, the Knights goalkeeper made 44 saves during Saturday’s match against rivals the Sudbury Wolves. These trees will contribute to the ‘Million Tree Challenge’, a community project designed to improve the city’s air quality and environment.
The official game sponsor, Downtown London, has agreed to match the total and will plant an equal number of trees. Fans have also been encouraged to join the initiative by sponsoring a tree.
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