HOCKEY AND RACISM. So as I sit in this arena on Family Day weekend, watching my boys doing something that is so Canadian, playing shinny with friends, I am reminded of what this sport is to our family. Hockey has been a part of our community and our lives in a very big way. We, as a family, in turn have given back to our community through this sport and yet there has continued to be a dark spot that keeps cropping up. My son, Zachary Sukumaran has now just turned 15 years of age and for the last several years he has played in a smaller town than the rest of my boys. Last night Zach was playing in a league game and yet again ,he had a child use a racial epithet regarding him this child referred to him as “nig nig”. As a 15 year old, Zach is bigger and stronger than most kids he plays against and this was no exception. This child that really had no dominance over Zach but was willing to use race as his alternative. This is not an isolated incident. Each year for the last several years, Zach has been attacked for his skin colour while playing hockey. Zach plays many sports, he plays football, basketball, golf etc. Yet it is only in this sport that he encounters this kind of thing. To be fair, the refs and the league have been amazing at addressing these issues and yet they continue. It is out of ignorance that these things happen and yet ignorance persists. While I came as an immigrant into a country where I had to integrate, for my children they are as much a part of the Canadian fabric as anyone no matter how many generations their families have been in this country, their skin colour might separate them but not their love for their sport or their country nor a multitude of other factors that make us truly Canadian. The message I inevitable pass on to my children may not be the best message to give but as a protective father I do it anyway. I tell my boys that by comparison, you are better than that person who has decided to insult you from a very low place. I go back now to watching my boys playing shinny with a bunch of people playing a sport in which the only difference I see is their skin colour on this Family Day weekend.
Written by Sanj Sukumaran