The ESPN Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year 2022 award will be handed over to a brilliant squad or group that best demonstrates how working as a team can greatly affect a cause or neighborhood. One of the 4 groups vying for the prize was the Pittsburgh Penguins.
In honor of its initiatives to advance diversity and inclusion in hockey, Pittsburgh has been nominated for this award alongside the Seattle Storm of the WNBA, the Miami Heat of the NBA, and the Denver Broncos of the NFL. The successful candidate of the 2022 ESPYs’ Sports Humanitarian Awards introduced by ESPN will be unveiled on Wednesday, 20th July 2022 (8 p.m. EST).
Not everyone is aware of this fact, but every employee of the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation receives a copy of the firm’s mission on their joining day. The Stanley Cup and fostering a positive impact on society are the main 2 objectives mentioned in the mission statement.
The 2nd goal has recently attracted attention by attempting to make the sport more relatable for exceptionally talented children of color.
The Pittsburgh Penguins uncovered the Willie O’Ree Academy on 15th June 2021, in honor of the 2018 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee who, on 18th January 1958, while playing for the Boston Bruins, actually broke down racial divides in the NHL. The academy offers opportunities like social, schooling, and mentorship opportunities for young hockey players of color aged between 10 to 17.
The plan to launch the Hunt Armory Ice Arena in the Shadyside neighborhood by the Pittsburgh Penguins and the city was made on November 26, five months later.
It is the town’s first new public ice hockey arena in twenty-five years and offers young kids diverse programming and free hockey.
They took great pride in raising the bar and adding more diversity to their game as the last few years have progressed. Also, they take great pride in increasing their commitment to the community. The deputy general counsel and head of HR of Penguins, Tracey McCants Lewis, created the Willie O’Ree Academy using a very simple strategy.
During a discussion with organization members in June 2020, Lewis already recognized the significance of these programs for attracting young viewers of color. Still, he also emphasized the necessity of remembering that the young black hockey players who have already developed a love for the sport but may not want to perform or be mentored by someone who appears like them.
The Penguins Foundation regularly supports the region; a while back, $887,060 in grant funding was awarded to 61 neighborhood organizations with funds from the 50/50 Raffle hosted during the 2021–2022 season.