Racism In Hockey

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The Good at Hockey Game SPORTS Oh, the good old hockey game Is the best game you can name -- Stompin' Tom Connors The Hockey Song THIS PAST SUMMER George Laraque, ex-Montreal Canadians forward, became deputy leader of Canada's Green Party. While the press noted his animal rights activism, they were silent on Laraque's most enduring political fight: his personal struggle against racism in hockey. Their silence was not surprising; Canadians have always been uneasy with the realities of race and racism in our beloved sport. Hockey has been elevated to such a status that criticizing the "national religion," especially from within, can evoke calls of patriotic heresy. One of the few black players to have become a household name in the lily…show more content…
But no amateur hockey league (at least not to my knowledge) or the NHL has adopted an official anti-racism strategy; something that has become common in many soccer associations across Europe where racism is openly discussed as a problem. The NHL -- which should be taking the lead as hockey's premier professional league -- has had a markedly liberal approach, establishing a "diversity taskforce" and founding the NHL Diversity Program, all the while failing to publicly acknowledge racism in…show more content…
But unlike baseball, it took another thirteen years before a second black NHLer took the ice and there have been few and far between since (Grant Fuhr, Tony McKegney, Jarome Iginla, and Ray Emery being the most notable). Answers to "why aren't there more black players in hockey?" typically cite cultural explanations (black athletes are interested in other sports; their families don't have histories in hockey etc.). But that lets hockey's white gatekeepers off the hook, allowing them to preserve their privilege by attributing the game's whiteness to cultural differences. As documented by George and Darril Fosty in their wonderful book Black Ice: The lost History of the Colored Hockey league of the Maritimes, 1895-1925, African-Canadian participation in the game dates back as early as 1815. By 1900 a fully-fledged "coloured" hockey league had been formed with teams from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, such as the Africville Seasides and the New Glasgow Speed Boys. Marginalized and segregated from the emerging pro-leagues, these players were never given the shot to play in the

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