NHL warns hockey’s future threatened by climate change
The NHL is calling climate change a threat to the future of the game of hockey.
“Before many of our players ever took their first stride on NHL ice, they honed their skills on the frozen lakes and ponds of North America and Europe,” NHL commissioner Gary
Bettman wrote in a letter accompanying the league’s 2014 NHL Sustainability Report.
“Our sport can trace its roots to frozen freshwater ponds, to cold climates.
“Major environmental challenges, such as climate change and freshwater scarcity, affect opportunities for hockey players of all ages to learn and play the game outdoors.”
The NHL’s report — part of the league’s NHL Green campaign — is touted as the first of its kind produced by a major sports league in North America. It examines the league’s carbon footprint and measures teams success in reducing waste and recycling.
The Maple Leafs, for example, reduced by 74 per cent the amount of landfill waste produced at the Air Canada Centre since 2007.
“This document is an important reminder to all sports fans, leagues, teams and businesses that while natural hockey ice might be the ‘canary in the coal mine’ when it comes to the effects of climate change on sports, the effects of climate disruption are a challenge to all leagues and businesses, and we must take meaningful action to reverse course,” said Dr.
Allen Hershkowitz of the Natural Resources Defence Council, who helped compile the report.
The league disclosed its carbon footprint — approximately 530,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year. This carbon emissions number accounts for league and club business activities and travel for over 182 game days, 1,230 regular-season games, over 60 playoff contests and nearly 3.2 million kilometres of team air travel per season.
By way of comparison, the annual emissions from the single largest coal power plant in the United States totals 23 million metric tons, according to the report.
“At the NHL, we recognize that we have great responsibility for the way we conduct our business, and we are uniquely positioned to promote the environmental message,” Bettman wrote.
Bettman wrote that the effort to reduce the NHL’s environment impact “is not only the right thing to do for the environment, but is also a core strategy for the long-term success of our league.
“We have a vested interest in this cause,” Bettman wrote. “As a business, we rely on fresh water to make our ice, on energy to fuel our operations and on healthy communities for our athletes, employees and fans to live, work and play. Moreover, to continue to stage world class outdoor hockey events like the NHL Winter Classic, NHL Heritage Classic or NHL Stadium Series, we need winter weather.”
The report looks at how the NHL is trying to reduce its carbon footprint, such as initiatives aimed at water and environmental restoration, like its Gallons for Goals and Hattricks for
Trees programs that put money back into the environment based on goals scored in games.