If you haven't followed the outpouring of horrible hockey news this week, whether it be the Blackhawks or the Penguins. I'm not going to touch on it specifically in this article. Others are much more educated on the topic than I am and I don't want to misquote. I will simply link the articles by Rick Westhead at the bottom of this article.
I am going to write about my assessment of hockey culture, both personally and from an outsiders perspective.
If you aren't aware, this has been a continuous problems at all levels. It obviously happens in the NHL as we've seen this week. Hazing is a huge issue in both junior and college hockey, while some see it as "harmless rookie initiations" when it gets to a point where nudity and physical harm is involved. It's no longer a joke.
Hockey is in dark days and the only way we can get the negative "culture" out of it is to start at the grassroots level.
In Canada, if you have a child in Minor Hockey. You have to take a "Respect in Sport" course that teaches parents how to act at the arena, embarrassing. There are more aspects to it such as teaching you how to give constructive criticism to your child. It's embarrassing as a society we have gotten to a point where a course needs to be taken on how to not be a horrible human being.
It's embarrassing that we have a referee shortage due to parents actions. I'm not saying that deep problems in hockey culture are because of the parents at the grassroots level. However, it is for surely not helping the case.
I personally have a child in a U7 program and even at that low of a level, we have parents abusing coaches about ice time and other things. It's almost like a toxic environment is engraved into hockey players at the lowest levels to make them feel like it's normal. It's not acceptable.
Parents, if you have a child in hockey. Be part of a better change. Continuously support your child, let them know it's okay to be sad after a loss. It's not wrong to have feelings. It's not okay to be aggressive towards referees or coaches, who are genuinely volunteering their time.
Hockey culture won't change until parents change. I'm not saying parents are the reason that sexual assault and hazing happens in hockey. However, parents can engrave it into kids at a young age to report these issues and in most cases (unlike the Blackhawks) it should be solved.
"Hockey is for everyone" a motto that the NHL plastered in every advertisement and every arena across the league. We as fans have now seen that is a bigger lie than ever.
Kyle Beach has identified himself as one of the victims alleging he was sexually assaulted by a former Chicago Blackhawks video coach. Beach, who was identified as John Doe in legal filings, revealed his identity in an interview with TSN's Rick Westhead on Wednesday night. The accusations have not been heard or proven in court.
Westhead: Bill Guerin, Pittsburgh Penguins ownership group facing lawsuit over alleged abuse - TSN.ca
Erin Skalde, the wife of a former Pittsburgh Penguins minor league assistant coach who was allegedly sexually assaulted by her husband's colleague, is about to file a lawsuit against the coach and the Penguins ownership group, said a law firm representing Skalde.