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Rico Phillips Engages MAHA in 'Courageous Conversation'

By Jason Reynolds, Director of Operations & Marketing, 09/23/21, 2:30PM EDT


Thursday, September 23, 2021


As an Affiliate of USA Hockey, the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association (MAHA) is committed to fostering a welcoming environment for all by building a diverse, equitable and inclusive game. We celebrate every race, gender and background to unite as one community. With that in mind, we believe that meaningful action can positively affect important change in our sport and carry over into our everyday lives. 

During Saturday's inaugural 2021 MAHA Virtual Leadership Seminar, OHL Director of Diversity & Inclusion Rico Phillips challenged MAHA leaders to have a 'courageous conversation,' in an effort to uphold the Zero Tolerance policy against language that is offensive, hateful or discriminatory in nature. Phillips shared some personal insights from his own journey through the game of hockey, as well as offering some tools and resources to prepare MAHA's leadership to cultivate a community of empathy and anti-racism.

Click on the video below to hear Rico's full presentation - and use the links below to access many of the helpful resources provided in his presentation:


Rico Phillips is a change-maker in the sport of hockey, having begun his role in the game as a high school hockey referee in the 1980’s. In 2010 he founded the Flint Inner-City Youth Hockey Program in an effort to increase racial and socio-economic inclusivity in minor hockey. In 2019, he was awarded the NHL’s prestigious Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award.

In 2020, The Ontario Hockey League announced that it had appointed Phillips to the role of Director of Cultural Diversity and Inclusion. In this role, reporting to the Commissioner, Phillips will establish and lead a committee to provide guidance and expertise to the League and teams to help ensure that the game is inclusive for all players, staff and fans.

He is a retired member of the City of Flint Fire Department.


Ice Breakers

Short film about past and present black athletes in hockey

Soul On Ice: Past, Present & Future (2016)

Documentary about black players in hockey

Too Colorful For The League (2001)

Documentary about racism in hockey

Willie (2019)

Documentary about Willie O'Ree's life and impact