‘This needs to end’: Queen’s hosts roundtable on racism in hockey

Roundtable features men’s hockey’s Jaden Lindo, NHL representative and others 

Jaden Lindo was featured on Saturday's panel.
Jaden Lindo was featured on Saturday's panel.
Photo: 
At Saturday’s Roundtable on Racism in Hockey, held at the Kinesiology building, one thing was made clear: racism isn’t new to hockey, and something needs to change.
 
The event began with a roundtable composed of men’s hockey player Jaden Lindo, Black hockey historian Bob Dawson, president of the first South Asian Ice Hockey network Lali Toor, and assistant coach of the Western Mustangs hockey team, Kalley Armstrong.
 
Shortly after, analyst for the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) Erica Ayala and hockey podcast host Aaron Lakoff discussed the media’s role in decolonizing hockey and creating more discussion around racism in the sport.
 
In the third segment of the day, Eugene Arcand gave a thirty minute talk on his experiences with racism in hockey as a residential school survivor. Having spent 11 years in the system, Arcand represented Saskatchewan on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He discussed the emotional trials he experienced in residential schooling, and how it influenced his relationship to hockey. 
 
Finally, the day was capped off with an open discussion with Rob Knesaurek, the NHL Group’s Vice-President of youth hockey and industry growth.
 
The roundtable saw local engagement from the Queen’s community, with men’s hockey Head Coach Brett Gibson attending the event.
 
“I need to be here—this message needs to get out,” Gibson said during the discussion period of the first panel. “I’ve been coaching 14 years full-time […] what’s blowing my mind awayis that I’ve never really thought about it. I look at [my players] as hockey players.”
 
Gibson added that the culture of a team is critical to fostering an inclusive environment.
 
“Their uniqueness is their colour, their abilities […] creating that kind of culture and climate is important not only for Jaden but also for the rest of the players.”
 
In a discussion on what hockey can begin doing to change the environment of the game, Toor said minorities need to have infrastructures where they can become a part of the fabric of the game—not an anomaly.
 
“My theory is if we build good networks within our communities, we connect prominent hockey players,” Toor said. “We have enough players to start the Indian men’s Olympic hockey team. It draws attention to our community.”
 
“It simulates how we’re fighting racism.”
 
Toor said those who drive the movement will also be critical to its success.
 
“What drives me is the kid that started playing hockey in Edmonton, who never really had a chance to play in college or the WHL or pro. If I give up on him, I give up on myself,” he said. 
 
To cap off the discussion, Dawson raised the history of hockey and how minorities have influenced the game.
 
“Hockey evolved. It evolved because of the input and genius of many people,” he said, alluding to the fact that the slap shot and butterfly style of goaltending originated from the Coloured Hockey League in Nova Scotia in 1895.
 
Dawson said racism in hockey—while unlikely to change immediately—will come from a shift within the sport.
 
“Changing the culture of hockey will change the face of hockey,” Dawson said.
 

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