Laura Robinson

  • Hockey's subculture deeply disturbing

    The hazing of rookie players has been banned by Hockey Canada and its provincial affiliates for years, but that has not stopped senior players and even coaches and administration staff from continuing this extraordinarily sick ritual. Almost by the hour more details are emerging about the sexual, physical and emotional abuse suffered, allegedly, by five first-year players on the Neepawa Natives team of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League.
  • Hockey promotes violence

    The Night the City Became a Stadium, authored by Douglas J. Keefe and John Furlong, tells us up front: "The question... is not the cause of the riot -- troublemakers deliberately caused it -- but the conditions that gave them the opportunity. The key ingredients were congestion and free-flowing alcohol." Troublemakers? The streets of Vancouver are not an elementary school playground. But a lightweight examination is exactly what they were paid to give; writing about the connection between the public performance of violence -- and how young males learn how to "act out" masculinity through that performance -- is verboten in a country that worships what has become a violent game. Heaven forbid we ask the real question, which is why do we imagine hockey as being much more than it is? The game will always be important to the athletes -- they love what it can be, but few like what it has become.
  • Violence on and off the ice

    When I was in Vancouver in the early days of the Stanley Cup playoffs, I could feel something like this coming. It was in the air following Canucks games, an unsafe atmosphere that was starting to build.  
  • The gender police are back

    Female Olympic athletes had a 10-year reprieve from not having to prove they actually are women, but it appears the gender police are back for the Vancouver Games. The 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney were the first Olympics since 1968 that women athletes did not have to be "tested" through a buccal smear to make sure they were female. These tests, which used a swab of saliva from the athletes, can have a 20 per cent false-positive rate, something the IOC chose to ignore. Instead they sent women packing, telling them to feign an injury or be exposed as not really being female. Needless to say these quasi-scientific "proofs" of sexuality devastated women who knew they were women, no matter what the faulty test read. Finally in 2000, the IOC's athlete's commission persuaded them to get rid of this ridiculous voyeurism. Women no longer have to have their "gender identity card" verified before they competed.

    Emmanuelle Moreau, head of media relations for the IOC, wrote in January 2010, despite the Sydney 2000 changes, "the IOC Medical Commission can ask for a gender test to be carried out should it detect a suspicious case at the time of the Games."

  • Canada's Games, but not its rights

    Two important decisions were made in Vancouver last week. The first came on Thursday when city council passed a motion committing the city to ensuring the right of all Canadians to freedom of expression and security of the person -- Sec. 2 and Sec.7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms -- in the lead up to the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

    The city also agreed to "write to senior levels of governments, VANOC and the Vancouver Integrated Security Unit [ISU] requesting them to publicly reaffirm their commitment to these rights. This, after author of Five Ring Circus: Myths and Realities of the Olympic Games, Chris Shaw and others who questioned the sanity and legitimacy of the Games were intimidated and harassed by ISU members.

  • An Olympic challenge

    Modern pentathlete Monica Pinette, who is Métis, was the lone aboriginal person on the Canadian team of 331 athletes in Beijing.

    The 2006 Census tells us that about 1.2 million Canadians identify as aboriginal in a population of 33 million, which means there should have been 11 aboriginal athletes on the team.


Will you be partaking in any Grey Cup festivities this weekend?

View Results View Related Story

Ads by Google