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A former player speaks out against the toxic culture and lack of diversity in hockey

A former player speaks out against the toxic culture and lack of diversity in hockey

Between 2001 and 2002, when he was still a teenager, McGillis says he had locker room experiences for those small teams that led him to hate his life.

The effect of being gay in that environment, of hiding my identity, of wanting to be like other guys chasing girls, the effect of that on me… honestly, I was coming home and I was trying to kill myself said to the show cross-country examination On CBC Radio One.

McGillis, who came out as gay in November 2016Compatibility is a critical barrier preventing the development of mindsets in hockey, he says.

People wear the same clothes, and speak the same way, whether it matches who they are or not. There is no place for us to be different. And if you are, you are an outcast. »

Quote from Brock McGillis, former junior-level great goalkeeper

According to McGillis, since players are overwhelmingly white, middle to upper class, and usually heterosexual, an environment is created in the locker room that allows them to say or do things with impunity.

This includes offensive language and behavior toward women, minorities, and members of the LGBTQ community.

You slowly see the words and behaviors that lead to racism, misogyny and sexual assault.

the law of silence

McGillis says some of the blame lies with adults in these places who aren’t doing enough to empower players.

It sets an example for coaches who belong to the same culture and who perpetuate it in their way of leading the team.

Usually, hockey players are born hockey babies. Parents who belong to the hockey culture enroll their children in hockey. It becomes a thing for granted and a natural cultureMcGillis added.

Theresa Bailey mother of hockey players About 16 years ago and co-founder of Canadian Hockey Moms, a site that gives advice to parents, he says parents want to have these conversations but avoid talking for fear of reprisals from their children.

Ms. Bailey adds that those in leadership positions within small hockey associations are often volunteers who have not been properly trained to deal with the toxic aspects of hockey culture.

It’s not simple. I’ve seen people who don’t really know how to handle or deal with problems in a way that silences those who come forward to speak. »

Quote from Theresa Bailey, co-founder of Canadian Hockey Moms


Bailey believes that the best way to eliminate the toxic atmosphere is to see the Canadian Hockey Federation and other similar federations (provincial and regional officials) encourage diversity within teams, coaching staff and boards.

I don’t see any other way to embed this in people’s minds and have different opinions about the table that will not be muzzled Mrs. Bailey added.

For Beatrice Van Dyck, 48 and a mother of four girls who played hockey in Ontario, there is now a great opportunity to change hockey culture.

The first step requires parents to take a tough stance on letting their wallets speak when it comes to paying membership fees for their local mini hockey association.

I would say, “I will only pay this fee if you don’t pay the District Association until they take a stand on what’s happening in Hockey Canada.”

Because at the moment this money helps perpetuate a culture of predatory, toxic, and narrative sexual behavior among young people. We don’t want this kind of society Ms. Van Dyck, who now lives in New York State, concluded.

*With information from Mohamed Rashini, CBC One, Cross Country Examination

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