BALTIMORE — Ellicott City hockey mom Tammi Lynch had a vision two years ago, a way to make the hockey rink a better place: Players Against Hate.
"The journey of Players Against Hate has been nothing short of unbelievable," she said.
We first brought you the origins of the organization in 2019. It is an effort to end racism in hockey. Lynch started the mission and created the logo after her son’s teammate was racially taunted on the ice. Fast forward to now and the nonprofit has gained worldwide notoriety.
"The platform that we’ve been given and the amount that it’s grown, we’ve grown to have an international presence," she said.
On Thursday night that platform is the National Hockey League. The Washington Capitals will wear the Players Against Hate patch on their shoulders during warmups before their game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. It is part of a special jersey for the Caps’ Black History Night.
An Ellicott City hockey mom came up with the mission & logo 2 yrs ago after her son's teammate was taunted on the ice because of his race. Now the Players Against Hate emblem will be worn 2nite by the #Caps as part of the #ALLCAPS Black History Night. More on @WMAR2News at 5pm. pic.twitter.com/hclicINhxs— Shawn Stepner (@StepnerWMAR) February 25, 2021
"There’s only one way to put it, racism is completely unacceptable and that just shows that we want to bring people together," said Capitals winger Tom Wilson.
What is it going to feel like for Lynch when she sees that Players Against Hate logo being worn by the Capitals before the game?
"I think I’m going to be speechless," she said. "It’s this little thing that I pounded out at the computer to stand up for my son’s friend and here are these amazing hockey players, the whole team, wearing that logo on their jersey to stand up for that same thing."
Lynch is part of the five person Black Hockey Committee, launched by the Caps in August. The group's goal is to try to eradicate racism and grow the game in underserved communities. Stevenson University assistant coach Duante Abercrombie is also part of the committee.
"We want to be involved on a daily basis with trying to get boots on the ground, getting into the classrooms, getting into the local hockey communities, spreading the information of not only blacks in hockey but how to end racism," said Abercrombie.
It is part of the overall message that anyone can play.
"I just want to help change the perception," added Abercrombie. "Really it’s just about getting into the communities and saying, ‘This is a sport that traditionally we’ve been told is not ours, but I want you to know it is’. Hockey is definitely for everyone. Just give it a try."
Thursday's special Caps jerseys and special pucks will be signed and auctioned off to benefit the Capital Impact Fund, which helps eliminate financial barriers faced by minority youth hockey players.
Players Against Hate recently launched a racism incident tracker. The organization states the tracker's purpose is 'To quantify the number, nature, and location where racially charged incidents are occurring. The data from the survey will be used to inform areas to target educational modules and inform the greater hockey community of the extent and type of racist incidents within the youth hockey community'.