Breaking barriers is an understatement for NHL Seattle Kraken’s new independent intersectionality consultant, Chanel Keenan. She has vowed to make it her personal mission to ensure hockey truly is a sport that everyone can enjoy and participate in.
When she is not busy fostering change within the Seattle Kraken organization, she also hosts her own podcast, C More Than Sports. Her focus is to highlight people who are involved in sports on and off the field.
We chatted with Chanel on her history as a hockey fan, her new role with the Kraken and what she hopes to see for the future of hockey.
WHL: How did you get involved with hockey?
CK: I definitely grew up a rink rat. I am the youngest so by default I was at every game and most practices. I loved doing laps around the rink with all the younger siblings. At that point in my life it wasn’t was about hockey but I loved the ambiance. Later I would find myself watching games and I eventually got into it in a very serious way.
WHL: As a woman of color and someone who has a disability, what do you want to see change in the sport of hockey?
CK: I just hope to normalize this in the workplace. I don’t want to be surprised to see faces and bodies that look like mine in this industry, and many others.
WHL: Can you describe your role with the Seattle Kraken and how that came about?
CK: I am the Intersectionality consultant with the Kraken. I was recruited on twitter ironically enough and it is quite a unique role. I do a lot of small things but my idea of how my role has meaning is simply existing in this space. Not in a conceited way but literally just in the sense of being a disabled body in a really exclusive space. I sit in on a few DEI committees where again, just having a disabled person in this setting is so important so we can make authentic and practical decisions.
WHL: In your new role, what are you hoping to accomplish?
CK: I am hoping to give them anything they need or want from me. I just recently was a part of a Seattle Kraken livestream Q& A on my role and hopes for the future. It went incredibly well and had such a positive response that it helped me feel really good about what I am doing. I am also hoping to help make people more comfortable around people with disabilities.
WHL: What advice would you give to young girls who see you in this position (with Seattle Kraken) and would like to do something similar when they grow up?
CK: I would say to let go. Let go of every bad thing you’ve ever thought about yourself or that someone has said to you. Unfortunately not everyone is going to support and like you. Having your own self worth and confidence is most important in this industry. Even though I struggle with imposter syndrome everyday, I think about if I am making an impact on young people who have disabilities or live with differences. Thinking that they could be inspired by me is the most fulfilling to me.
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