By Tom Gulitti, NHL
In September, the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association unveiled hockey’s Declaration of Principles, developed to create the best possible family hockey experience, and was adopted by 17 hockey organizations globally.
The next step in advancing those principles came Friday at the 2018 NHL All-Star Declaration of Principles Summit at the Westin Tampa Waterside, which kicked off 2018 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend in Tampa.
Emceed by NHL Network analyst and former NHL goaltender Kevin Weekes, the summit featured an array of experts who shared their insights on how the principles can be applied to improving the athletes’ and fans’ experiences in hockey and in all sports. Keynote speakers at the summit, attended by 300 invited guests from hockey organizations across the United States and Canada, included WWE personality Titus O’Neil, former NHL player and coach Ted Nolan and author, educator and activist Tony Porter.
“Our hope is today these conversations can set an example, they can inform, they can enlighten and they can produce new ideas for growing our game and new ways to interact and develop, perhaps even create new audiences, and now especially, and hopefully, support our core belief that hockey is for everyone,” Commissioner Gary Bettman said.
Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik expressed hope the summit can be continued at future All-Star Weekends. The 2018 GEICO NHL All-Star Skills Competition is at Amalie Arena on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVA Sports), and the 2018 Honda NHL All-Star Game is Sunday (3:30 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVA Sports)
“This morning marks one of those opportunities to have conversations about athletes’ involvement in the community, increasing diversity of hockey at all levels and life skill development,” Vinik said. “These are all important conversations that should happen at all levels of society, from business leaders to politicians and down to the grassroots level.”