Why Do We Play the Sports We Play?

Don Cherry has taken the spotlight once again for comments deemed inappropriate and wrong, but it is comments by CTV’s The Social host Jessica Allen that are taking over the trending news. In a review of the Don Cherry comments, Allen deemed hockey players to be “a certain type of person in my mind, in my experience” and “they all tended to be white boys who were, let’s say, not very nice.” She went on to add that “they were not generally thoughtful. They were often bullies. Their parents were able to afford to spend $5,000 year on minor hockey: $5,000 is a lot of money. You can do other things besides than spending time in an arena. They could go on a trip and learn about the world. See other things, eh. The world is a big place. Get outside of that bubble.” 

Her comments have raised backlash from many Canadians, with the hashtag #FireJessAllen trending on twitter. Her opinion is one of interest as many people do not openly share this opinion with her, especially in Canada, where most people identify very strongly with hockey.

Many Canadian hockey parents took offence to her comments and felt that they and their children were being directly attacked. This feeling may be derived from the fact that many parents choose to put their children into hockey so that they may gain life skills and lessons from hockey’s structure, competition and team environment. Parents felt that their children may gain confidence in their hockey participation and be able to translate this to other aspects of their lives. For instance, the image below shows the Rothesay High School Women’s Hockey team and the confidence and positive team environment they uphold each time they step into the arena.

Rothesay High School AAA Girls Hockey Team – Highlighting the team environment seen by many hockey parents (Beth Stanely Photography)

Every activity from work to sports has bullies and people that are not fair to others and it was the generalization of hockey players as a whole as bullies that many had an issue with as well. This may be due to many parents and players feeling that hockey is a team environment and fosters a place of growth in interpersonal skills and working with others. It is not often that parents want to see the activities they place their children in as potential risky environments that are not helping them to grow into better people.

You can come at this issue from both sides of the street and it is important to look at it with all given information. There are reasons that many are upset at Jess Allen but there are also reasons that many stand with her.


Featured Image: Jess Allen speaks about Don Cherry and hockey on The Social on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019. (Screencapture)

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