26 July 2014

NHL is worried about global warming—listen up, Mr. Harper

Surprising perhaps, but the National Hockey League now produces a sustainability report. And it's worried about global warming. According to League Commissioner Gary Bettman, "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." This is the first sustainability report produced by a pro sports league.

It presents the league's carbon inventory, detailing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with its operations, including energy and water use, waste and travel, acknowledging that NHL hockey is energy intensive. The league has established an initiative, NHL Green, to raise the level of environmental consciousness among fans and arena operators, and encourage improvements within its buildings and operations.

Mike Richter, three-time NHL All-Star goalie, now environmental champion, concludes the report stating that researchers have "found a 20 to 30 per cent decrease in the length of Canadian skating seasons over the past 50 years, with the biggest drops in Alberta, eastern British Columbia, and the southern Prairie regions."

Perhaps Mr. Richter could convince hockey fan Stephen Harper to add another chapter to his book about hockey discussing the threat global warming poses to the "Great Game." And then add what he learns to a new chapter in his environmental policy.

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