Capitals Producer Bell A Showcase of Diversity In Hockey
Bill Bell is an important symbol in the world of sports broadcasting today, having worked in D.C. television since 1987. Bell is a producer for live events on NBC Sports Washington, which includes coverage of the Washington Capitals season. He may not be a player or have NHL experience, but his work in broadcasting has proven a valuable asset to their coverage of the Capitals. His work in the field of hockey also symbolizes something which has been lacking in hockey for a long time: diversity.
Hockey has long been a sport reserved for the rich and white, due to demographics of cold-weather states and income inequality. Few non-white players broke through as superstars for a long time, and access to fans of other demographics was scarce. Bill Bell is a heroic exception. Growing up in Philadelphia, Bell was fascinated by hockey at a young age. The early Flyers caught his eye in the paper, and he began playing street hockey and following his team. He took his love into broadcasting with his studies at Kutztown State College. Now with NBC, he is all about the Capitals and his work does justice to the team and offers hope for those like him who want to get into hockey but can’t find the right place or way.
In recent years, hockey has gotten better with its diversity. The NHL expansion into the southeast has made them more accessible to black communities. At present, about seven percent of the league identifies as non-white, with black players like Seth Jones and Dustin Byfuglien having found success in the league. Even players of other backgrounds like Latino Max Pacioretty and Syrian-American Brandon Saad have found play time. But hockey can do better, and fans from the sidelines can show the diversity of the general audience for the game. Bell’s presence from the early days has shown there is a way to have hockey reach out. The sport is for everyone, and Bell is an example of how not only players, but the fans can be diverse as well.
Hockey is a growing sport in America. Hundreds of thousands of kids are now taking up the sport, and even remote, warmer areas like the Southeast are seeing a growth period. More rinks and more time to play encourages players from all backgrounds to join in on the action. As an accessible and enjoyable game, hockey should be enjoyed by everyone. The diversity coming into the sport is a positive overall, as it makes the play and styles of the players all the more engaging and fun to watch. Bell is one of many fans and promoters who will allow this diversity to prosper.