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Black Ice: Testimonies of discrimination in yet another sport

Former Montreal Canadian Georges Laraque at the Monreal Premiere. (Amru Salahuddien/The Concordian)

MONTREAL (CUP) – The Montreal premiere of Hubert Davis’ documentary “Black History” took place on the evening of February 13 at the Concordia’s Hall building.

“Talk to every person of color who’s tried playing hockey up there and hear the stories they’ve had. It would be like, “Dude, have you been to Alabama? No, I was in Manitoba,” comedian Bill Burr said during an interview with Conan O’Brien on TBS.

The clip launched a seemingly endless stream of videos and news reports of soul-crushing acts of racist atrocities: social media posts, videos of fans and players spewing insults and pantomiming acts of hate, all without any repercussions.

In his new documentary, Hubert Davis underscores how BIPOC communities have rarely been accepted in the white-dominated sport.

Black Ice covers the black history of ice hockey and how black players’ relationships and experiences with the sport were forever bitter.

From immigrants escaping slavery on the subway to young children just learning to take their first steps on the ice, Davis shared the wide-ranging history of racial intolerance from the perspective of the victims.

For decades, ignorance and intolerance have been commonplace in locker rooms, from youth home leagues to the NHL.

More importantly, the documentary focuses on current frontrunners aiming to make hockey a more inclusive sport once and for all.

These important members of the community have been making waves by spreading awareness and encouraging BIPOC kids to pursue their love of play while educating and supporting them with the challenges they face.

Many popular names in the hockey community spoke about their experiences with hate, such as producer PK Subban, Wayne Simmonds, Sarah Nurse and Matt Dumba. The latter was awarded the King Clancy Memorial Trophy in 2020, recognizing exemplary leadership and contributions to the community.

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Dumba is also a member of the Hockey Diversity Alliance.

Black Ice talks about many historical figures and events such as the Colored Hockey League formed in Nova Scotia in 1895 and where the slap shot was pioneered.

The tallest black player never to play in the NHL, Herb Carnegie, also starred in the documentary. A full 68 years after his retirement and 10 years posthumously, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

He turned down the New York Rangers’ low-ball salary offer only after Toronto Maple Leafs owner Conn Smythe announced he would give $10,000 to anyone who could white him.

A question-and-answer panel followed the screening, which included former Montreal Canadiens Georges Laraque, Frantzi Joseph – father of NHL players Mathieu and Pierre-Oliver Joseph – and 13-year-old aspiring hockey player Keisha.

The three talked about their own experiences and gave the evening an even more intimate touch.

Black Ice can be streamed on Crave and aired on TSN.

This article was shared via the CUP Wire, maintained by Canadian University Press.

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