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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.

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.

Rogers Place Achieves LEED Silver Certification

Canada Green Building Council
Sustainable City Network

Oilers

Photo Credit: Edmonton Oilers

EDMONTON — The city of Edmonton, with Oilers Entertainment Group, has announced Rogers Place has received LEED Silver certification.

“The city of Edmonton aims to be a national leader in setting and achieving the highest standards of environmental preservation and sustainability,” said Councillor Bev Esslinger. “This certification not only helps us reach this goal but positively impacts the health, quality of life and resiliency of our citizens and city.”

The city of Edmonton has a sustainable building policy that mandates the construction of all new buildings to strive for LEED Silver certification as a minimum requirement. Planning, design and construction of the arena and adjacent facilities followed LEED requirements throughout the process and achieved certification through the LEED goals of development density, community connectivity and alternative transportation.

“Congratulations to the city of Edmonton and the project team involved in this LEED Silver certification for Rogers Place Arena,” said Thomas Mueller, President and CEO of the Canada Green Building Council. “Designing and building a facility of this magnitude to meet rigorous green building standards is an ambitious undertaking, but one with the potential to have a positive impact on visitors, where they can see sustainability in action. This certification sets a strong example for other large venues in Canada that every building can achieve superior environmental performance.”

Rogers Place is the first NHL facility in Canada built to the LEED Silver certification requirements, demonstrating efficient systems for lighting, heating, cooling and ventilation in building design. The commitment to reduce the building’s environmental impact continues into operations of the facility. Oilers Entertainment Group is a member of the Green Sports Alliance and has embraced green operations including cleaning, education and food waste handling.

Read the full story here.

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