December 4th, 2019 ~ Vol. 89 No. 49
Hockey Culture
Simply Selles by David Selles
David Selles
Pass Herald Reporter
There’s been more news out of the hockey world regarding “hockey culture” and the way it can affect young players.

What’s meant by hockey culture is mainly the idea of certain types of things that have occurred over the years in hockey communities around the National Hockey League and the minor league systems as well, specifically in regards to coaches behaviour to players.

Shortly after the Toronto Maple Leafs fired their head coach Mike Babcock due to a poor start to the season, stories started coming out about how Babcock forced then rookie Mitch Marner to list the players on the Leafs from hardest working to least hardest.

Now some people might not have a problem with that, but where the problem comes in for me is when Babcock took that list and told the rest of the team where Marner had ranked them.

To put a rookie in a position like that where he’s just trying to find his way in the league and now suddenly has a list that degrades some of his teammates shouldn’t be done.

Babcock responded to the story by saying he was simply trying to teach Marner about work ethic and focus on role models with him.
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In my view, that’s one weird way to do it.

Shortly after that story came out, former NHL player Akim Aliu tweeted that Bill Peters, who was his coach 10 years ago in the American Hockey League with the Rockford Ice Hogs, used racial slurs when addressing the music Aliu was playing in the dressing room.

Peters went on to coach for Carolina in the NHL and was most recently the head coach for Calgary until this story broke.

Once Aliu tweeted his experience, the Flames organization began a thorough investigation into the alleged incident and asked Peters to stay away from the team while the investigation was occurring.

While that investigation was happening Michael Jordan, who played under Peters in Carolina, tweeted out that he and other players had been kicked and hit over the head by Peters while sitting on the bench during games.

Both of these stories were proven true by fellow teammates and members of the organizations Peters coached for.

Peters recently handed in a letter resigning from the position of head coach for the Calgary Flames and the Flames accepted that letter.

Since then, even more players have begun to voice their experiences as players with abusive or incencitive coaches and more teams have released members of their staff.
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As I’m writing this, the Swift Current Broncos released their head athletic trainer and equipment manager after it was revealed he had made “demeaning and derogatory comments, threatening behaviour and unprofessional conduct that are inconsistent with the values of the Broncos.”

I’m sure there will be even more experiences shared that will cause more coaches and trainers to lose their jobs over the next weeks and months as players begin to speak out.

This brings me back to the hockey culture side of things.

I think society is finally starting to change and with that change is coming power for people who have suffered.

They are finding the strength to speak out and they in turn are helping to shine a light on some of the things happening in the game of hockey.

When Aliu made his comments, he then spoke with TSN writer Frank Seravalli about a hazing ritual he refused to participate in with the Windsor Spitfires where older players would have forced him and other rookies to stand in the bus washroom naked.

It’s these types of things that people don’t usually see or even know about behind the scenes.

It’s these types of things the hockey community needs to get away from.
There is also another side to this and it’s one we can’t forget in the middle of this.

Not every coach is bad.

Not every coach has done things like this to his/her players.

While certain coaches do deserve the fate they have received, let’s not forget all the good coaches out there who have done their duty properly.
December 4th, 2019 ~ Vol. 89 No. 49
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