Hockey Canada Targets Toxic Masculinity in Groundbreaking Summit


In a pivotal move, Hockey Canada hosted a two-day summit taking an in-depth look into elite men’s hockey, an arena that significantly shapes the sport’s cultural ethos in Canada. The summit, known as Beyond The Boards Summit, cast a critical eye on the facets of toxic masculinity embedded within the hockey culture which often germinates racism, sexism, and homophobia.

Framed by a provocative display of masks created by university hockey players, each mask bore an external inscription reading “boys will be boys, power, kings” while internally, it conveyed a darker message: “pain, suicidal, need love”. This cutting-edge research project served as a stark representation of the psychological trauma inflicted by the sport’s innate toxic masculinity on the players.

Follow us on Google News! ✔️

According to Teresa Fowler, a researcher and assistant professor at Concordia University of Edmonton, these heart-wrenching masks represented the unspoken conversations of many involved in the game. Pressures to mimic locker-room behavior, coupled with the expectations of displaying exaggerated toughness, were highlighted as significant factors adding to the players’ emotional burden.

In an instance shared by Fowler, she mentioned a troubled player who resorted to coping strategies like excessive drinking brought about by the imminent pressure to engage in physical fights, implying a stark contradiction in his moral outlook. The rebounding themes of the cruel locker-room culture combined with societal pressures originating from hockey’s historical white colonization resonated amongst 160 attending individuals including leaders from both minor and professional spectrums of the sport.

Under growing scrutiny following reports of sexual assaults and hazing, Hockey Canada found itself under the microscope, pushing for a significant shift in the sport’s culture. Disturbing instances of derogatory initiation rituals subjected to rookies and the usage of explicitly sexual language in game talks underlined the rampant sexism within the men’s game.

However, the summit’s underlying objective aimed at not merely understanding the severity of the problem but also plotting a roadmap towards holistic improvement. Newly appointed Hockey Canada’s president and CEO, Katherine Henderson, emphasized the need for reevaluating some cherished aspects of the sport believed to be its intrinsic parts.

Former NHL player, Sheldon Kennedy, a sexual abuse survivor and renowned advocate for child abuse prevention, raised a call to action during the summit, urging leaders to step up accountability and urging the need for an honest introspection for the betterment of hockey.

Hockey Canada plans for the summit to be the first of many aimed at confronting racism, sexism, and homophobia ingrained in the sport. The organization faced severe criticisms and lost sponsorships last year following revelations of using minor hockey registration fees for settling a lawsuit involving gang rape allegations against members of the national men’s junior team.

Nevertheless, retired Ontario judge Hugh Fraser, the newly elected chair of Hockey Canada’s board maintains an optimistic outlook, asserting, “Change takes time. I’m very confident that the will is there to remove these things that have held people back.”

Asserting that many of the issues raised during the summit are societal, not unique to hockey, Fraser reiterates the organization’s commitment to play a leadership role in charting a better path for the acclaimed sport.