Minority players in the National Hockey League remain a relative rarity.

But the effort to increase diversity in the sport at the youth level has never been more robust than it is now. The results can be seen in neighborhoods in places like Philadelphia and Detroit where basketball, baseball and football are still the top choices for many.

While just 5 percent of the 778 NHL players are minorities, that number is 70 percent within Snider Hockey, a program that provides free equipment, ice time and academic support for more than 3,000 youths in the Philadelphia area. Ice Hockey in Harlem, Detroit Ice Dreams and other organizations are also trying to bring the sport to people who never thought it was for them.

In this Feb. 21, 2019 photo a mural dedicated to Ed Snider is seen on the side of a home near the Scanlon Ice Rink in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
In this Feb. 21, 2019 photo a mural dedicated to Ed Snider is seen on the side of a home near the Scanlon Ice Rink in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The NHL says it has spent $100 million along with the players’ union since 2015 to grow diversity in the sport.

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In this Feb. 21, 2019 photo April Johnson, center left, speaks with children Malakye, center, and Wylla as her other son Logan, left, puts on his pads for Snider Hockey practice at the Scanlon Ice Rink in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
In this Feb. 21, 2019 photo April Johnson, center left, speaks with children Malakye, center, and Wylla as her other son Logan, left, puts on his pads for Snider Hockey practice at the Scanlon Ice Rink in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
In this Feb. 21, 2019 photo Malakye Johnson takes part in a Snider Hockey practice at the Scanlon Ice Rink in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
In this Feb. 21, 2019 photo Malakye Johnson takes part in a Snider Hockey practice at the Scanlon Ice Rink in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
In this Feb. 20, 2019 photo Virlen Reyes poses for a photograph at her studio in Philadelphia. Reyes become Snider Hockey's first college graduate. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
In this Feb. 20, 2019 photo Virlen Reyes poses for a photograph at her studio in Philadelphia. Reyes become Snider Hockey’s first college graduate. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
In this Feb. 21, 2019 photo Malakye Johnson (1) gathers with his teammates during a Snider Hockey practice at the Scanlon Ice Rink in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
In this Feb. 21, 2019 photo Malakye Johnson (1) gathers with his teammates during a Snider Hockey practice at the Scanlon Ice Rink in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
In this Feb. 21, 2019 photo April Johnson speaks before her children take part in a Snider Hockey practice during an interview with The Associated Press the Scanlon Ice Rink in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
In this Feb. 21, 2019 photo April Johnson speaks before her children take part in a Snider Hockey practice during an interview with The Associated Press the Scanlon Ice Rink in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
In this Feb. 21, 2019 photo Wylla Johnson, right, talks to her brother Malakye, center left, before he takes part in Snider Hockey practice at the Scanlon Ice Rink in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
In this Feb. 21, 2019 photo Wylla Johnson, right, talks to her brother Malakye, center left, before he takes part in Snider Hockey practice at the Scanlon Ice Rink in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
In this Feb. 21, 2019 photo Malakye Johnson prepares for a Snider Hockey practice at the Scanlon Ice Rink in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
In this Feb. 21, 2019 photo Malakye Johnson prepares for a Snider Hockey practice at the Scanlon Ice Rink in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
FILE - In this November 23, 1960 file photo, 25-year-old left wing Willie O'Ree, the first black player of the National Hockey League, warms up in his Boston Bruins uniform, prior to the game with the New York Rangers, at New York's Madison Square Garden. (AP Photo, File)
FILE – In this November 23, 1960 file photo, 25-year-old left wing Willie O’Ree, the first black player of the National Hockey League, warms up in his Boston Bruins uniform, prior to the game with the New York Rangers, at New York’s Madison Square Garden. (AP Photo, File)
FILE - In this Oct. 29, 2018 file photo, National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman speaks during a news conference in New York, Monday. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
FILE – In this Oct. 29, 2018 file photo, National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman speaks during a news conference in New York, Monday. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
In this Feb. 20, 2019 photo Virlen Reyes speaks during an interview with The Associated Press at her studio in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
In this Feb. 20, 2019 photo Virlen Reyes speaks during an interview with The Associated Press at her studio in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
FILE - In this Feb. 22, 2018, file photo, former hockey player Willie O'Ree waves to the crowd after being honored prior to an NHL hockey game between the Los Angeles Kings and the Dallas Stars, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)
FILE – In this Feb. 22, 2018, file photo, former hockey player Willie O’Ree waves to the crowd after being honored prior to an NHL hockey game between the Los Angeles Kings and the Dallas Stars, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)

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