This can and should be seen as a step forward relative to diversity and inclusion in junior A hockey throughout Ontario and across Canada.
That is, the Superior International Jr. Hockey League has confirmed the appointment of Trevor Iserhoff as its first ever director of diversity and inclusion.
According to the SIJHL, its diversity and inclusion initiative “is part of a greater strategy throughout the Canadian Jr. Hockey League to place itself at the forefront of diversity issues and positive initiatives to eradicate any form of racism and create a reach to support minority participation in hockey.
“I applaud the CJHL for recognizing the importance of a focused strategy to make the game of hockey more inclusive and to welcome, embrace and celebrate players of diverse ethnicity and varied backgrounds,” relayed SIJHL commissioner Darrin Nicholas. “The SIJHL intends to be a leader in this movement and we are ecstatic that Trevor has accepted the mandate to help the league build and execute a strategy from the ground up.
“The end goal is not only to educate our players, team staff and officials as to the sensitivities of equity, diversity and inclusion in our society, but that those associated with our league become future ambassadors for diversity within their own respective communities,” Nicholas added.
As for the 40-year old Iserhoff, he is a member of Moose Cree First Nation and lives in Kenora, Ontario. He also serves as a scout with the Kam River Fighting Walleye, focusing on the evaluation and recruitment of Indigenous players for the SIJHL team.
Iserhoff said he is looking forward to applying his knowledge and experience for the betterment of the SIJHL — and to represent the league on the CJHL’s national diversity and inclusion committee.
“The SIJHL plays on the land of the Robinson Superior Treaty and Treaty 3 Territory so I am honoured and excited to be working with the SIJHL. I am looking forward to helping the league and its respective teams in any advisory role in the diversity and inclusion strategy,” Iserhoff noted.
Meanwhile, Nicholas outlined how it so is important to bring in Iserhoff as the SIJHL’s director of inclusion and diversity.
“It is something that maybe affects our league more than others,” Nicholas said. “There is a huge Indigenous population in our part of the country that we draw players from. And we do have Indigenous players that find themselves onto our rosters.”
As SIJHL commissioner, Nicholas noted that Hockey Canada, which is the sport’s governing body in the country, has been putting a lot of energy into diversity and inclusion initiatives.
“Now and as a result of that, Hockey Canada is asking the leagues to get more involved,” Nicholas added.
Which certainly makes Iserhoff’s appointment a right step in the right direction.
“We are going to be aiming to work with Trevor and have our players, our staff and our officials throughout the league educated on Indigenous issues,” Nicholas said.
Back to Iserhoff, he said he is not sure of all the details of how his new role will play out.
“I know for sure that I will be talking to teams about racism and the do’s and don’ts … I will keep in touch with them and if anybody has any questions or concerns they can reach out to me and I’ll help the player or the team with whatever issues that they have,” he noted, while adding that his new position is for all minority players and not just Indigenous ones.
“It is for everyone,” Iserhoff confirmed. “I know there are a lot of different backgrounds in the SIJHL. And I will be more than happy to help anyone that has issues on or off the ice.”
Iserhoff told Windspeaker.com that he is anxious to get started with his new position on behalf of the SIJHL.
“I love hockey and I want to give back to the game and I think this is just a perfect time for me to help out the league,” Iserhoff relayed. “It would just be good for everyone to be on the same page and learn as one and move forward and try to eliminate racism and stereotyping and all the prejudice that comes with it. Unfortunately, it’s in hockey and I would love to see it totally gone from the game.”
The SIJHL says it has begun formulating its formal diversity and inclusion strategy and policies and expects to provide more information and details ahead of the 2021-2022 season.