This season we have been looking at hockey fans’ opinions through weekly FanPulse polls. This week we polled fans on how they would describe hockey culture, and the results are telling.
There are plenty of good and bad things about hockey and that is expressed in the most common descriptions. Fans likely aren’t surprised at seeing “family”, “close”, and “loyal” with “toxic” and “bad”.
The 2019-20 season has uncovered some of the less talked about aspects of hockey culture. Abuses of power have always been happening, but for once fans have been learning about things that were kept from the general public for years.
After the firing of Mike Babcock by the Toronto Maple Leafs stories were shared of how he had Mitch Marner in his first season rank players from the hardest to least hardest working, a list which was shared publicly.
Marc Crawford was placed on leave by the Chicago Blackhawks after reports surfaced that he physically assaulted players, although before this was announced he had already taken steps to better himself by attending counseling and therapy and he will be reinstated.
Former Coaches Corner host Don Cherry was fired after a segment about immigrants.
Finally, Akim Aliu spoke about issues he has endured during his career, including having to deal with members of the organization dressing in blackface and racial slurs by former coach Bill Peters. Peters was then coach of the Rockford IceHogs and after Aliu spoke he was fired as head coach of the Calgary Flames.
But while the bad stories are going to stand out in peoples’ minds, it is also a good thing. Hockey culture is finally saying enough with the unacceptable behavior. Only by identifying the problems that were so long ignored can hockey culture become better.