Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews is among the many upset by the decision of president Donald Trump to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord signed by over 190 countries last year.
Toews used an Instagram post to voice his displeasure on Friday, calling Trump's decision "another step backwards in dealing with a major global problem."
The three-time NHL Stanley Cup champion said whether people believe climate change is real or not, the focus should be on preserving what we have left.
Toews made the analogy to preventative measures like eating healthy to prolong our own lives.
"Do you believe in climate change? Whether you're super pumped that we are putting 'Americans first' or you are absolutely outraged at the idea that we are taking yet another step backwards in dealing with a major global problem, the only way to solve this argument is to try and set your own agenda aside and see how this affects everybody," he wrote.
"The only lie we tell ourselves is that we are more special than other life forms on the planet. Well, we're not. Even if we weren't responsible for any major climate catastrophes heading our way, shouldn't we still do our part to preserve what we have left? The same way that we shouldn't wait till our bodies break down completely to start doing the right things to stay healthy, let's not wait till it's too late to do something.
"I am not saying I am perfectly 'green', but the first step is to keep an open mind and try to learn what you don't already know."
Because the NHL plays at least two games per season outdoors with its Stadium Series – the annual Winter Classic and Heritage Classic – the league has established a green initiative.
"Hockey can trace its roots to the frozen freshwater lakes and ponds of North America and Europe," the NHL says on its NHL Green website. "The ability to skate and play the game outdoors is a critical component of the NHL's history and culture. Major environmental challenges, such as climate change and freshwater scarcity, affect future opportunities for hockey players of all ages to take the game outside.
"This is why the NHL is committed to improving hockey's environmental impact — and to helping catalyse a larger movement toward a healthier planet."