A new podcast about major teams and the minority women who love them.
A photo of several hockey sticks leaning against a wall

The Podcast

The Minority League was created by two friends who were inspired by their love of good storytelling to take a look at how minorities navigate spaces that weren’t created for them. Anar and Manashi decided to do a podcast after they took their love of hockey on the road and traveled to Philadelphia in May 2021 for a Penguins vs Flyers game. Looking around the arena, they wondered why there weren’t many minority fans, players, or staff. Hockey is such a fun sport! It should be something everyone can enjoy, and that’s what The Minority League continues to look at in Season Three.

The Episodes

Season 3

Side by side portraits of a man wearing a suit and a hockey player

Episode 8

Sports agent John Kofi Osei-Tutu and professional hockey player Marc Johnstone join us on this episode. Johnstone made his NHL debut December 8, 2023 with the Pittsburgh Penguins when they played the Florida Panthers. They share their experiences navigating the sport and what it felt like to make an NHL debut after many years of dedication and hard work.

Black and white portrait of a man looking at the camera

Episode 7

Former NHL defenseman Mark Fraser talks about his current role in hockey as director of culture and inclusion for the Toronto Maple Leafs and what motivated him to go back into hockey after he’d left the sport. The Leafs are hosting this season’s All Star Game, and he gives us a preview of some of the events he’s been involved in.

A woman holding a microphone smiles as she looks to a man in a gray suit standing at her side

Episode 6

Bernice Carnegie is co-founder and co-chair of The Carnegie Initiative. Named for legendary Hockey Hall of Famer and social justice pioneer, Herb Carnegie, the organization focuses on inclusion and acceptance in hockey. Their upcoming CI Summit in Toronto is one not to be missed, bringing together changemakers within the sport ahead of the NHL's All Star events. Bernice speaks to us about her own extraordinary life, her involvement in the sport and what the Carnegie Initiative strives to accomplish.

A woman holding a microphone smiles as her arm extends to wave to a crowd

Episode 5

National anthem singer, Sonya Bryson-Kirksey tells us about her role in the Tampa Bay Lightning organization. We first noticed her when she was singing the national anthem during Lightning playoff games with her vibrant blue lipstick and her killer pipes. She loves introducing people to hockey and being a role model for women and people of color.

A man wearing a graduation cap, gown and hood smiles at the camera

Episode 4

Children's book author Anthony Walsh tells us about the latest installment in his "Hockey is for Everybody" series. An advocate for diversity and inclusion in the sport, this former high school champion hockey player tells us about all of his pursuits both within the sport and outside of it. We also chat with Tampa Bay Lightning anthem singer, Sonya Bryson-Kirksey and find out about the connection between these two remarkable individuals. Additionally, Anar and Manashi talk about Diwali celebrations across the league and in their families!

A coach stands behind a row of hockey players watching a game with animated expressions on their faces

Episode 3

On this episode, Michael Hutton shares an inspiring story of perseverance. He coaches youth hockey in North Carolina and tells us why he loves the sport and how it could possibly have saved his life.

A man wearing a black hat and jacket stands in a hockey rink, looking at the camera

Episode 2

Youth hockey coach Murat Pak speaks to us on this episode. A former player of Turkish descent, he tells us what it was like playing hockey in Germany as a kid and what it's like for his players now. He shares the nuances of working with a wide range of international children. And Murat talks about his involvement with and the importance of organizations such as the NHL Coaches’ Association and Hockey Is Diversity.

Professional headshot of a man looking into the camera

Episode 1

We're back with our third season! During the break, there was a major announcement in the world of hockey. Tennessee State University is starting a hockey program, and it is the first HBCU to implement this sport. Nick Guerriero is the man pulling together the first ice hockey team at a historically black college and university. Tennessee State University made the announcement on the same day as the NHL draft and there's been a lot of excitement around it.

Two women smile at the camera. One is wearing glasses, a puffy coat and a pink scarf. The other wears a bright pink coat and a hat bearing The Minority League logo.

Season 3 Preview

New episodes coming on October 10! Join us as we speak to guests including children’s book author Anthony Walsh, youth hockey coach Murat Pak, and Tennessee State University’s Nick Guerriero, to name just a few!

Season 2

A group of hockey players and their coach pose with the Stanley Cup.

Episode 13

We're thrilled that Frantz Jean, goaltending coach for the Tampa Bay Lightning, joins us for the last episode of our season. He is active in the NHL Coaches Association BIPOC coaching program which focuses specifically to support minority coaches with skills development, career building and leadership initiatives. Jean currently coaches one of the best goalies in the NHL, Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Joel Martin stands in a hockey locker room. Hockey players are on a bench behind him, listening to their coach.

Episode 12

On this episode, Kalamazoo Wings Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations, Joel Martin joins us. One of only two Black head coaches in professional hockey, he was promoted to this role in August 2022. Martin has had a formidable professional and coaching career up to this point. He's also active in the NHL Coaches' Association's BIPOC Coaches Program, which strives to support black, indigenous and coaches of color in areas of leadership, communication, skills and career development.

Tarik El-Bashir speaks into the camera while holding a microphone

Episode 11

Sports journalist Tarik El-Bashir speaks with us on this episode. He's a reporter for TNT Hockey and a Senior Writer for The Athletic. Additionally, El-Bashir covers the Washington Capitals, and he's notably covered Alexander Ovechkin since his rookie year. He discusses his involvement with the Fort Dupont Cannons and the elements that can cause barriers for minorities to participate in hockey.

Renee Hess, wearing a Pittsburgh Penguins jersey, stands in the crowd of a hockey arena smiling at the camera.

Episode 10

This week, we are so excited that we have our first return guest! Black Girl Hockey Club's formidable founder, Renee Hess, joins us again. She started the organization back in 2018 to encourage black girls and women to take part in hockey as fans and players. The organization has taken off since then, with a recent expansion into Canada. They have given out numerous scholarships and mentored women in an effort to grow the game. Anar and Manashi talk to Renee about these initiatives and more!

On the left is an image of a man in a blue suit with his arms crossed. He has a friendly smile and is looking directly at the camera. On the right is a man wearing a "Swift Hockey" hoodie, a helmet, and is holding a hocky stick. Is he looking out into a hockey arena.

Episode 9

In this episode, we are talking to two people changing hockey in different ways, but whose paths have intersected: Swift Hockey founder Zechariah Thomas and Jaden Lindo, Manager of Community Hockey Programs at the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation. Swift Hockey is changing the game by providing hockey sticks at a lower cost. Likewise, Lindo's programs are increasing accessibility of the game throughout the Pittsburgh area.

Naleli Danso looks straight at the camera with a soft smile

Episode 8

Naleli Danso speaks to us about what playing with the Baltimore Banners means to her and what it is like to be a transgender woman in this space. She tells us about the community that is the Banners and about the time she met Washington Capitals players. Additionally, Anar and Manashi discuss their wish lists for this year's All Star Game.

Noel Acton stands in a group of hockey players. His arms are stretched out wide and he has a large grin on his face.

Episode 7

Founder Noel Acton of the Tender Bridge Foundation speaks with us. The Baltimore Banners is a part of this foundation, and it's a hockey team for at-risk youth in the area. The team is a safe space for kids and mentors to play the game, and it has made a huge impact on this community. Additionally, Anar and Manashi talk about their holiday break.

Alexandria Briggs-Blake, wearing fashionable glasses and a black polo shirt, smiles at the camera.

Episode 6

Alexandria Briggs-Blake of the Tucker Road Parent Hockey Association joins us this episode.  She talks about how she's changing the face of hockey at many levels, from youth hockey in the state of Maryland and across the U.S., to working with the pros in the NHL. Also, Anar and Manashi talk about Hockey Fights Cancer and how it impacts their love of the game.

Mari Horita smiles at the camera. She is standing against a gray backdrop.

Episode 5

The Seattle Kraken's Mari Horita joins us for a discussion on the engagement efforts of the NHL's newest franchise. Mari is the Senior Vice President of Social Impact and Government Relations, and Executive Director of the One Roof Foundation. She talks about initiatives ranging from mental health to Learn to Skate programs that the Kraken has implemented plus what other engagement programs are coming up for this young team.

Nathaniel Brooks stares into an ice ring; his reflection can be seen in the protective shield around the rink

Episode 4

Nathaniel Brooks from the Arizona Coyotes joins us this week. He talks to us about his new role as Skills Development Coach, what his journey to the NHL was like, and how he's inspiring success for other minorities coming into the sport.

Washington Capitals player Bill Reilly during a hockey game

Episode 3

Former Washington Capitals player Bill Riley was the third Black player in the National Hockey League. He opens up about how he got started in hockey and went to play in the NHL as well as the racism he faced and how his playing days are remembered. Find out how Anar met this famous player, and how he’s continuing his legacy of good work.

Two women smiling at the camera

Episode 2

We had a great first season, and we’re really looking forward to our second one! In this episode, we speak with sports journalist and writer Cecil Harris. He’s the author of Breaking the Ice, a book about Black players in professional hockey. Harris talks to us about his experiences covering the Carolina Hurricanes, what opportunities he thinks former Black players should have, and even shares some insight on tennis superstar Serena Williams' recent retirement.

Two women smiling at the camera

Season 2 Preview

Just like the National Hockey League, we are back!  Join us this season as we speak to some of the most influential people in hockey.  We speak to one of the first Black players in the NHL - former Washington Capitals right winger Bill Riley, Arizona Coyotes coach Nathaniel Brooks, the Seattle Kraken's Mari Horita, sports journalist Cecil Harris, and more.  New episodes start October 11th.

Season 1

A person rides a zamboni machine on an indoor ice rink

Episode 11

It’s the final episode for this season! We speak with Hockey Night in Canada Punjabi broadcaster, Randip Janda. He tells us about his involvement with the Canucks organization and their Diwali celebrations and how community is a huge part of hockey. Also, Manashi and Anar wrap up what they've learned this season.

A person rides a zamboni machine on an indoor ice rink

Episode 10

We return this week with the second part of our interview with Samson Cree goalie, Devin Buffalo. He shares his experiences playing college and professional hockey, and he tells us about the community outreach and coaching that he's currently involved with. Also, Anar and Manashi had a New York City adventure last month, and the ladies speak about their shenanigans together!

A person rides a zamboni machine on an indoor ice rink

Episode 9

After a hiatus, we are back! We speak to Samson Cree goalie Devin Buffalo about his experiences playing hockey professionally and in youth leagues. He tells us about the initiatives he is now leading in his community, and he shares some tough stories with us. Anar and Manashi also discuss the Olympics and how the sports world is responding to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

A person rides a zamboni machine on an indoor ice rink

Episode 8

In this episode, the first Black player in the NHL - Willie O'Ree - talks about his favorite hockey memory.  We also speak to rising NHL star Pierre-Olivier Joseph of the Pittsburgh Penguins, and he and Delvina Morrow tell us more about some of the Penguins' outreach programs.

A person rides a zamboni machine on an indoor ice rink

Episode 7

On this episode, we speak with two people who are actively working in the National Hockey League: Duante Abercrombie and Delvina Morrow. Abercrombie is the Assistant Ice Hockey Coach at Stevenson University, and Morrow is the Senior Director for Strategic Initiatives and DEI for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

A person rides a zamboni machine on an indoor ice rink

Episode 6

We bring you two former Fort Dupont Cannons players who are still integral to the organization. They talk about the challenges of being young black men playing hockey and what the opportunities are for playing professionally. This episode features Jaronte Jones and Hank Lee.

Hockey Coach Neal Henderson looks out onto an ice rink of hockey players

Episode 5

We bring you part two of our interview with Fort Dupont Cannons Coach Neal Henderson, along with two former players who are still actively involved with the team. Additionally, Manashi and Anar discuss diversity at the games that they've attended recently and the Vancouver Canucks’ celebration of Diwali earlier this month.

A cartoon graphic of three women of color sporting hockey jerseys bearing the "Black Girl Hockey Club" logo

Episode 4

This episode we’re taking you to an ice skating rink in the Fort Dupont neighborhood in Washington DC to meet one of the most influential hockey players in the United States - Neal Henderson.  In 1976, Coach Neal founded the oldest minority youth hockey league in the U.S., the Fort Dupont Cannons. Anar and Manashi talk about what it was like to meet Coach Henderson, and a Cannons player who has moves like a famous NHL player.

A cartoon graphic of three women of color sporting hockey jerseys bearing the "Black Girl Hockey Club" logo

Episode 3

Hockey season is in full swing now. Manashi and Anar chat with Black Girl Hockey Club’s founder Renee Hess and Chanel Keenan, Intersectionality Consultant for the Seattle Kraken. Learn what prompted them to become hockey fans, what they love about the game, and how they're forging the way for cultural change within the sport. You'll hear about Anar and Manashi's adventures to see their favorite team.

Side-by-side headshots of a man and a woman

Episode 2

It's the start of hockey season!  Anar and Manashi speak to journalists Evan Moore and Jashvina Shah about their new book Game Misconduct: Hockey's Toxic Culture and How to Fix It. Find out how they became interested in hockey, what they think of the sport's culture, what it's like being a minority fan, and whether hockey organizations are doing enough to address racism. You'll also hear how Anar and Manashi became hockey fans.

Two women stand in front of Gritty

Episode 1

We introduce you to our hosts and preview this season's content which will take a look at how people —especially minorities—live, work, and play in spaces not designed for them. We'll hear from notable professionals including players, administrators and journalists on what's happening with race in the world of hockey.

The Hosts

A woman wearing a red top and glasses leans against a brick wall and smiles at the camera

Manashi Mukherjee

Manashi Mukherjee is a TV executive by day (and night, and weekends) and when she has free time, she loves traveling, live music, riding her bike and cooking for her friends. While she has been a baseball fan for quite some time, her love for hockey emerged during the pandemic. Manashi's background is in news and journalism, having started her career at CNN. She currently oversees the studios and technical operations for a major network in Miami. Manashi has worked on numerous national and international productions throughout her career. While in her previous role at a media company in New York, she headed up a DEI initiative which increased outreach for jobs in television to previously underrepresented groups.

Manashi has always rooted for the underdog, and she loves a good "worst to first" sports story. She also volunteers time mentoring coworkers who want to advance in the corporate world of television production.

A woman wearing a red jacket and a scarf is buckled into a seat on a small plane. She is looking at the camera.

Anar Virji

Anar is a writer, kayaker, rower, and hockey fan who lives in Washington DC, where she also does volunteer work ranging from get out the vote efforts to Covid-19 vaccine outreach. She sustains her hockey habit through her work as a TV journalist for Al Jazeera English, an international news organization. Anar has reported on the 2016, 2018, and 2020 elections, President Donald Trump’s impeachments, the effects of climate change on Alaska Native villages in Alaska, the sovereignty of Native American nations and tribes, climate change, race in the U.S., immigration, the Covid-19 pandemic, and other current events.  She's won multiple awards from the Native American Journalists Association for her work, including stories on the Violence Against Women Act and the cleanup of the United States’ largest toxic waste site, the Tar Creek Superfund site, in Oklahoma.

Anar is a member of SAG-AFTRA and one of her union’s shop stewards.