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The National Hockey League has fostered an inclusive and diverse environment through its ‘Hockey is for Everyone’ initiative. The Detroit Red Wings joined this commitment by celebrating their Black History Game at Little Caesars Arena on February 24. The event celebrated the rich history of Black players in the sport and recognized Black leaders in and around Detroit.

Hockey is for Everyone: Jason McCrimmon Kicks off the Game

Announcing the Red Wings’ starting lineup, Jason McCrimmon brought excitement to the game as the Red Wings faced the St. Louis Blues. McCrimmon, a prominent figure in the Detroit hockey community, was honored by the NHL with the Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award in 2023. This prestigious award acknowledges individuals who, like O’Ree, have made significant contributions to their communities through hockey. McCrimmon’s dedication is further highlighted by his establishment of Detroit Ice Dreams, which aims to bring the joys of hockey to children in Detroit.

Game Changers Honorees: Leaders Making a Difference

In addition to in-game and arena-wide activities and events, Ilitch Sports + Entertainment honored four outstanding individuals as part of their ongoing Game Changers series. The Game Changers series, presented by Comerica Bank, honors individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership, dedication and service to their communities.

Kenneth Donaldson – President and CEO of Black United Fund of Michigan
A lifelong Detroit resident, Donaldson has devoted more than four decades to philanthropy, mentorship and community organizing. Through the Black United Fund (BUF) of Michigan, he has helped establish more than 20 different programs specifically targeted to help the youth of metro Detroit.

Dina Harris – Founder and CEO of National Faith Homebuyers
With more than 40 years in the housing industry, Harris has played a pivotal role in establishing Ypsilanti’s Section 8 housing program. Her leadership at National Faith Homebuyers has enabled more than 10,000 families in Michigan to purchase homes or stay in their current residences.

Daniel A. Washington – Founder and Executive Director of NW Goldberg Cares
Born and raised in Detroit’s NW Goldberg neighborhood, Washington founded NW Goldberg Cares to sustain the neighborhood’s vitality for future generations. The organization has achieved remarkable milestones, including the creation of six public spaces, neighborhood events and the ongoing rehabilitation of homes.

Dr. Darienne Hudson – President and CEO of United Way for Southeastern Michigan
Starting her career as a teacher in the Detroit Public School System, Dr. Hudson’s passion for community service has been unwavering. Under her leadership, the United Way for Southeastern Michigan has raised more than $37 million, positively impacting more than 2.5 million people in Southeast Michigan. Dr. Hudson also actively serves on various boards, furthering her commitment to community development.

“I want to thank Ilitch Companies, Comerica, the Red Wings and the Tigers. They do so much for us at United Way and in our community,” Hudson said. “This program is so important because sports have a way of bringing people together from all walks of life. That’s the beauty of what I get to do every day.” 

Mark Your Calendar: Next Celebration on March 14, 2024

The spirit of inclusion and community engagement will continue on March 14, 2024, with the next ‘Hockey is for Everyone’ and Game Changers celebration in recognition of Women’s History Month – purchase your tickets here.