A first-ever roundtable on racism in hockey was held over the weekend at Queen’s University in Kingston.
The Racism in Hockey roundtable discussion was inspired by recent racist events that occurred in arenas across North America.
More than 50 people took part in last Saturday’s roundtable discussion. Among the guest speakers were Queen’s hockey star, Jaden Lindo.
“In minor hockey there weren’t a lot of players that looked like me,” said Lindo, now in his second year with the University Gaels, who also played four seasons in the OHL with the Owen Sound Attack and Sarnia Sting.
“It definitely affected my confidence in those early years,” Lindo continued.
“Growing up was a confidence battle, but my parents reinforced my belief that I could accomplish anything I wanted to, regardless of who you are. I was told to fight hard through any kind of discrimination or unfair justice. I kept focused and didn’t let things get to me personally and continued on with my career.”
The day-long session also featured members of the media, coaches and hockey fans from Kingston and across the province.
“It seems like every month there’s a racist incident in hockey,” said Courtney Szto, the event organizer.
The assistant professor of Kinesiology at Queen’s University says they’ve been treated as isolated incidents.
“We need to raise the issue and deal with the issue,” continued Szto.
“We need to be proactive as opposed to being reactive. What can we do to make sure that hockey is not only inclusive, but that we’re making sure that these incidents don’t happen again?”
Szto says there’s definitely been improvements over the last 50 years, but there’s still a lot more that needs to be done.
“Roundtable discussions like this one is a good step,” added Lindo, who helped the Gaels win the Ontario University championship for the first time in 38 years.
“People are still being racialized; it’s still a prevalent issue. Hosting events like this will definitely make an impact and remove racism from hockey.”
Organizers plan to create a report from all the things that were discussed at the roundtable and send it to larger organizations like Hockey Canada for further review.
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