Flint's Rico Phillips hired for new diversity role with Ontario Hockey League
Flint's Rico Phillips was hired by the Ontario Hockey League for the newly created role of director of cultural diversity and inclusion.
Phillips, a retired member of the City of Flint fire department and the winner of the NHL's Willie O'Ree Community Hero Award last year, will establish and lead a committee to provide guidance and expertise to the OHL and teams to help ensure that the game is inclusive for all players, staff and fans.
“There is no question that the biggest challenge facing hockey and sports, at all levels, is how to ensure that the game is inclusive," Phillips said in a statement.
"I believe the key to doing this is to work hard to eradicate racism and ensure an environment that is free from any discrimination."
The committee will make recommendations and build upon the league's current policies and player and staff training.
“Rico Phillips has proven over the years that he not only understands hockey, but he understands the role that community plays in the sport and the challenges that face players and teams with regards to racism and inclusiveness,” OHL commissioner David Branch said in a statement.
The OHL is part of the Canadian Hockey League with 60 teams in nine Canadian provinces and four American states, including two teams in Michigan, the Saginaw Spirit and the Flint Firebirds.