It’s been a bit of a slow news week in the world of hockey. Conversations about racism in the sport continue, while the NHL is moving forward with its plan to hold the playoffs in the summer.
Here’s the Thursday edition of Links, News and Notes!
- The quest to finish up the 2019-20 NHL season continues on, with the NHL still yet to announce the host cities for the playoffs. Trudeau recently announced that Canada would be comfortable with hosting the playoffs in one of the three cities that have expressed interest - Vancouver, Edmonton, and Toronto - and would not require that players self-quarantine for 14 days after crossing the border.
A 14 day quarantine before the start of the playoffs actually sounds like a pretty good idea, but I guess it wouldn’t be entirely realistic, what with the players needing to practice and not wanting to keep them away from their families for longer than necessary. This whole thing just makes me extremely nervous, to be honest.
Anyways, I don’t know better than anyone else which cities will be chosen, but I can imagine Vancouver might be a good choice since they seem to have the virus under control compared to other major Canadian cities. Then again, this might be Toronto’s only chance to host a playoff game past the first round.
- If you’re looking for more anti-racism resources, Sports Disrupted recently put together a google drive of resources focused on anti-racism in sports.
I’d also recommend the Soul on Ice podcast, which recently put out an episode with Grant Fuhr!
- The AHL has announced the formation of a “return to play” task force, made up of AHL and NHL executives. According to their news release, the task force will not have the power to make decisions regarding the league’s plan to return for the 2020-21 season, but they will be responsible for providing leadership and strategic direction.
It’s really hard to predict what the world will look like in October, so I guess it’s nice to know that leagues are being proactive. Still, it seems extremely optimistic to assume that next season can go ahead normally - I fully expect the NHL playoffs to go very badly - and I’m not sure how much a task force can really do to make things safe.
- With attention finally being paid to the problem of racism in hockey, a lot of eyes have started to turn to Rangers player Tony DeAngelo, whose recent tweets have ranged from ignorant to offensive. DeAngelo has a history of racist behaviour, dating back to his minor hockey days when he got into trouble for using racial slurs on the ice. A few hockey fans have started sharing an old video in which Tony DeAngelo’s father openly admits to using racial slurs regularly around his son, and essentially tries to excuse the player’s behaviour by claiming that he is simply a product of his upbringing.
The Rangers have been completely silent on this issue, but I think it’s really important that the hockey world talk about it, because DeAngelo’s views are not exactly uncommon in the NHL, and the fact that he is allowed to say these things without consequence points to a problem with hockey culture. The hockey media loves to talk about team chemistry and culture when players are celebrating too enthusiastically or allegedly not getting along with each other, but tends to stay silent when it comes to players holding - and openly expressing - bigoted views. DeAngelo plays with two people of colour in K’Andre Miller and Mika Zibanejad, and while I will not pretend to know how they feel about him, I cannot imagine he is creating a particularly welcoming environment for them.
I don’t expect the NHL or the Rangers to do anything about this situation, but it’s certainly worth paying attention to.
- In case you didn’t know, tomorrow is June 19th, or “Juneteenth,” which is a celebration of Black liberation to commemorate the end of chattel slavery in the United States. There are tons of events happening on that day to commemorate the anniversary, but I’m going to draw special attention to an event happening on the day after. The Black Girl Hockey Club, which does fantastic work bringing discussions of race to hockey fandom and generally making hockey a more inclusive space, is hosting a panel about race, hockey and community that looks extremely interesting. Panelists include hockey players Joel Ward, Blake Bolden and Saroya Tinker, as well as several influential voices in hockey fandom. I will certainly be tuning in, and I would encourage Silver Seven readers to register for free at this link!