In a press release announcing the campaign, Aliu said he was “ten years old when the parents of an opposing team member first referred to me as a racist slur”.
In 2019, Aliu made allegations that his former coach Bill Peters used a racial slur against him while Aliu was in the minor leagues in 2010. Peters later admitted using the racial slur and resigned from his position as head coach of the Calgary Flames shortly thereafter.
“This month has been 64 years since the first professional black hockey player – Willie O’Ree – made his NHL debut, and yet racism against black players is widespread at all levels of the sport,” said Aliu.
The NHL, which has its own campaign entitled “Hockey is for Everyone”, turned down several offers to participate in the Budweiser Canada-HDA-Anomaly cooperation, a decision that Aliu described as “a minor matter” in an interview with Canadian Sports Outlet TSN.
In a statement to Ad Age, the NHL said it “commends our partner Budweiser and the Hockey Diversity Alliance for their efforts to promote diversity and inclusivity in hockey” and promoted the campaign on their digital platforms but made no explanation as to why was refused to participate in the campaign which became a hit.
“We respect your decision,” said D’Agostini.