Boston Bruins: Hockey is slowly waking up to it’s power

Boston Bruins (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Boston Bruins (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

You only need look at the Boston Bruins statement on currently unfolding events to realize that hockey is starting to understand it’s power.

For years, the hockey world, the Boston Bruins included, often sat back and ignored what was going on in the wider community. As a rule, hockey players have always spoken in cliches, rarely stepped out and made bold public statements, all for the greater good of the team.

However lately, we are seeing in front of our very eyes, that hockey realizes it needs to have a conscience.

Sport has a great uniting power. Look to the 1995 Rugby World Cup, immortalized in the 2009 movie Invictus, and you see the power that sport has to drive society to re-think how it acts. Look at uniting stories from any Olympic Games, people get behind an athlete not because of skin color, not because of nationality, but rather because their stories resonate as human beings.

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To see countless hockey players and indeed the multi-million dollar organisations that write their pay-checks, speaking up loud and clear, is greatly heartening. The hockey community at large is realizing that it has a voice and that it should use it for good cause.

Patrice Bergeron is the latest to step out and make a statement, vowing to ‘take real actions’ and matching his words with donations to the Boston branch of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) and the Centre Multiethnique de Quebec.

In recent days, there has been less care about how a statement may be construed and whether it’s a bad PR exercise. Instead, we’ve had almost visceral outpourings of frustration by multiple hockey clubs, reflecting the shared sentiment and attitudes of large numbers of their fan bases.

There is no blurred line in the Boston Bruins statement expressing that ‘bigotry, ignorance and senseless violence in any and all forms is wrong’. There is no misreading that sentence – the Boston Bruins as an organisation are using their elevated soapbox to make a stand.

They add that they want to be honest, want to be accountable and want to lead, realizing that the Boston Bruins are a large community that often needs to carefully balance it’s words and actions.

Hockey on the whole is largely a sport dominated by white males; Willie O’Ree has rightfully been lauded for breaking the color barrier as a Boston Bruins player back in the late fifties.

Since then, there has still always been undercurrents of racism in the sport, though as years go by, we like to think it is being eradicated from the game.

Next. Expect an on-ice return within days. dark

Hockey has the power to help make a difference. It’s using it right about now. For that, we need to praise the organisations and players for taking a stand and speaking their piece.