When Madeline Martha Mackenzie said “oh, calamity” she easily could have been talking about hockey culture. In my own eloquent words, hockey culture fucking sucks.
As some of you may know, I started this blog because I love the electrifying sport of hockey. It first captivated me at the wee age of four and it became an obsession shortly after. Further, I wanted a career in sports, especially hockey but was discouraged by people close to me. Honestly, I felt dismayed when I was told not to get into hockey. Now, looking back I know they were rightfully concerned especially about the culture that stems from hockey. Basically, if you aren’t a white dude, it might as well be the Hunger Games, cue Effie Trinket saying, “the odds are never in your favor.”
It has always caused me much distress that there is a lack of women covering hockey. The few prodigious women trailblazers, who cover the sport often do not get the credit or recognition they deserve. Vancouver is such a lovely and diverse city, however, the hockey coverage as exceptional as it is, lacks a divergent flair. That’s why I decided to create Canucks Crux.
Lately, I question why I decided to invest my efforts in covering a sport that is filled with sexism, misogyny, racism, homophobia and pretty much anything that isn’t quite white. Hockey culture is a problem I firmly stand against and writing about this league causes me inner turmoil. At the same time, it is imperative that the Vancouver hockey market has female representation, and this is where I find myself at a crossroad. I could focus my efforts on something that is a better representation of myself and my thinking or continue to try and be a difference in a world filled with coxcombs.
Take a look at your favourite team and I guarantee you will be able to find many fools. The Canucks have had their fair share like David Booth, Brandon Prust, Brandon Leipsic and more. Social media has given us a window into the culture surrounding hockey. Often, these things are chalked up to “locker room talk.” Unfortunately, none of this is shocking to hockey fans. Most recently, was Brandon Leipsic’s abhorrent Instagram group messages filled with misogynistic comments and photos. This is another example where its justified by hockey boys being boys. It’s incredibly frustrating to support these players and a league that often doesn’t regard females as human beings. We are seen as objects or “puck bunnies” who are here only for the hockey boys to make disgusting comments about and put down. Despite the fact, we are intelligent fans who love the sport of hockey just as much if not more than the boys.
Unfortunately, this culture also extends to some media outlets that are celebrated by the NHL and players alike. Personally, I find it disheartening that NHL stars frequent a podcast like Spittin’ Chiclets where women are constantly disrespected and referred to as “kills.” It’s one of the most popular sports podcast on iTunes, only further proving misogyny is the cultural norm in hockey. It’s hard to support players who make the choice to go on a platform and conform to the show.
When will the NHL finally take a stand against the misogynistic prejudicial hockey culture? These things are well known and occur regularly in hockey. However, for reasons I will never comprehend, the NHL does not take any steps to prevent these things from continuing to happen. It’s simply not enough to release a silly PR statement complete with an insincere apology. After the apologies, nothing ever changes and in a couple weeks another twit will be sure to reveal himself.
The NHL needs to take a stand today. They could hire a diverse team with no affiliations to the NHL or its players, to oversee these kinds of issues. They need handle them in a way that punishes and educated a player who makes these repugnant posts or statements. Take away that players money, playing time and have him volunteer in the community at women’s shelters. The players need to show us they have learned from their mistakes before they are welcomed back or the cycle will always continue.