Many hockey players can trace their love for the game back to the humble beginnings of the sport – scrimmages on backyard ponds with the neighborhood kids. But climate change could put this tradition on thin ice. Omar Mitchell, senior director of public affairs and sustainability at the National Hockey League, explains.


Mitchell: “Natural ice will freeze later in the season and thaw earlier in the spring. We’re already seeing that scientific research is showing that this is already happening.”

If these warming trends continue, there will be less time to skate safely on natural ice. And that could make the sport less accessible to kids in the years to come.

Mitchell: “A lot of our players, a lot of the premier athletes in our league grew up playing on frozen ponds and there is this outdoor element and tradition to our game that is lost if we don’t have cold or winter weather.”

The NHL is not sitting this one out. The League is educating its twelve million followers across all social media platforms about what a carbon footprint is, and how fans can reduce their consumption of energy. By engaging its large fan base, the NHL hopes to check climate change for a long time.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photo: Copyright protected.

More Resources
2014 NHL Sustainability Report
Green Sports Alliance

Diana Madson contributed regularly to Yale Climate Connections from 2014 to 2021. She enjoys exploring U.S.-based stories about unexpected and innovative solutions to climate change. In addition to her...