NEW YORK - The National Hockey League is acutely aware that responsible stewardship of our planet is a mandate of the highest importance. Our great sport was born of winter weather. It is played by athletes who, in many cases, took their first skating steps on frozen ponds.
Accordingly, the NHL, with support from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), is launching a League-wide green initiative to promote sustainable living and business practices. While most of our 30 Member Clubs and many of our approximately 700 players already are actively involved in programs and projects aimed at promoting sustainability, the NHL today unveils NHL Green, a year-round commitment to making the League and its Clubs more ecologically responsible while educating our fans and raising awareness of environmental issues.
"Our game originated on frozen ponds," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "Most of our players learned to skate on outdoor rinks. For that magnificent tradition to continue through future generations, we need winter weather -- and, as a league, we are uniquely positioned to promote that message. We are thrilled to be able to work with the Natural Resources Defense Council and to draw upon its vast experience and expertise in greening League events and League and Club operations."
The NRDC will provide guidance in efforts to make the 2010 NHL Entry Draft that will be held June 25-26 at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles a greener event. In addition, the NRDC has worked with NHL to develop an online environmental resource guide which has been customized and distributed to each of the 30 NHL teams.
Reusable bags will
be used at the Stanley
Cup Final (click to enlarge)"Lakes are freezing later and melting earlier, which is not good for ice hockey, and biodiversity is being lost at historically unprecedented rates, which is not good for the health and well-being of our planet," said Dr. Allen Hershkowitz, Senior Scientist, NRDC. "As one of the world's most iconic professional sports leagues, the NHL should be applauded for launching a program to help address these global environmental pressures, and NRDC is proud to join with the NHL to help identify ecologically meaningful, achievable goals. The NHL has an opportunity to make a real difference in its own operations, with its suppliers, and also to set a standard for others to follow. We are excited to embark on this valuable project."
From the retrofitting of Philips Arena in Atlanta to become the first existing NHL or NBA arena to achieve LEED certification to the construction of the new CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh to LEED gold standards, NHL Clubs have made sustainable business practices a priority for several years. And from the commitment to a sustainable lifestyle by Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference to Anaheim Ducks captain Scott Niedermayer becoming the first pro athlete to drive Honda's new, zero-emissions, fuel-cell FCX Clarity vehicle, NHL players have made going green a priority in their lives.
At the 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic in Boston in January, the League began the process of coordinating those myriad individual efforts into a league-wide initiative. At Fenway Park on the evening of Jan. 5, 2010, overlooking the idyllic Winter Classic rink, the NHL sponsored a panel discussion among many of the country's most influential environmental thinkers and activists. Moderated by New York Times columnist David Brooks and with former New York Rangers goaltender and current environmental investment executive Mike Richter serving as the link between the two worlds, panelists such as Hershkowitz, Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp, MIT Sloan School of Management Professor John Sterman and EMC Corp. Chief Sustainability Officer Kathrin Winkler shared their thoughts on sustainability in sports.
"Sports, for good or bad, plays a huge, huge role in our culture," Richter said. "And if we can get the sports world to just start discussing this -- and a forum like this is a great way to do it -- then people start to have these discussions among themselves. And this is a conversation that needs to be had -- again and again and again."
Building off the momentum generated that night, the NHL today unveils the NHL Green microsite that will be housed on the league's website, NHL.com. Fans clicking on the NHL Green button on the NHL.com home page will be transported to the home of news stories and videos focused upon the League's sustainability activities, NRDC-compiled tips for fans on how to live a more eco-friendly life and links to sites that will provide more information and resources.
The NHL also announced today that it will replace 30,000 plastic shopping bags with reusable bags during the Stanley Cup Final. The commemorative bags, which feature the 2010 Stanley Cup Final logo, will be available for a limited time to consumers who make purchases of $10 or more at arena shops in the two Stanley Cup Final markets and at the NHL Powered by Reebok store in midtown New York City.