The league has pledged to track the total water used at the two host venues, Vancouver’s Rogers Arena and Boston’s TD Garden, including everything from rinks to faucets. The NHL said it will replenish these through the Bonneville Environmental Foundation’s Water Restoration Certificates (WRCs), restoring at least one million gallons of water to Oregon’s Deschutes River.
“This is a monumental statement on the part of the NHL, its fans, teams, and players,” said Todd Reeve, vice president of watershed programs at the foundation. “This commitment to match water used on the ice and in the arena with an equal amount restored to a critically dewatered river represents a cutting edge commitment to sustainability.”
The NHL notes that water rights holders, individuals who have the legal right to remove river water for beneficial economic use, have diverted most of the Deschutes River as it passes by the city of Bend, Ore. These disruptions have degraded habitats, water quality and the overall health of the river, the NHL said.
“The NHL Water Restoration Project will help return the Middle Deschutes to the vibrant watercourse it once was,” the league said.
The Bonneville Environmental Foundation created water restoration certificates in 2009 to provide an economic incentive for water rights holders to contribute to restoration. The foundation describes the system as the first national, market-based solution to restore flow to deteriorating fresh water.
The NHL project will provide financial support to the foundation in collaboration with the Deschutes River Conservancy, the organization negotiating with local water rights holders and managing the construction of stream flow restoration projects in the Deschutes basin.
Standards and criteria for the program have been certified by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and each league WRC is officially recorded and available for view online through Markit Environmental Registry, the NHL said.
The NHL previously partnered with Bonneville Environmental Foundation when it bought 426 renewable energy certificates for the 2011 NHL Winter Classic and All-Star games.
Earlier this year the Vancouver Canucks – who are competing in the Stanley Cup final against the Boston Bruins – joined with five other Pacific coast teams from the NBA, NFL, MLB, WNBA and MLS to found the Green Sports Alliance, which aims to reduce sports’ impacts on the environment.
Alliance members are working with the Bonneville Environmental Foundation, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency, Natural Resources Defense Council and Portland State University, to identify and adopt environmental initiatives.
Picture credit: NHL