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Local professor speaking at 'Hockey Sense' summit about climate change

Last Updated Sep 19, 2016 at 2:24 pm EDT

Photo from Robert McLeman - Associate Professor at Wilfrid Laurier University.

It’s the good ol’ hockey game and many of us play it outdoors.

The NHL is holding a workshop Monday afternoon called ‘Hockey Sense’ at the Hockey Hall of Fame as part of the World Cup of Hockey festivities.

Social equality and environmental sustainability are the two issues at the forefront.

Robert McLeman is an associate professor of geography and environmental studies at Wilfrid Laurier University and co-founder of rinkwatch.org.

His website lets people who have backyard rinks record where they are in North America and give updates on outdoor ice conditions.

Those outdoor rinks everyone enjoys skating on, could be at risk with how climate change is affecting winters in North America.

McLeman says environment sustainability is an important issue to get NHL players involved in.

“If Sidney Crosby promotes a sports drink or wears certain skates, kids will do that,” says McLeman, “but if he also says kids, let’s think about the environment, they’ll listen and hear that message as well. There is a platform and I’m hoping the NHL will pick it up.”

McLeman adds over the next 75 years, it will be hard to maintain outdoor ice.

“We’re projected to already be a degree warmer by the year 2050 than what we are today,” says McLeman, “in a place like Southern Ontario, it really shrinks the skating season.”

The NHL and NHL Players Association are working together to make the league environmentally friendly through it’s NHL Green program.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr are just some of the star power at the event.