The Philadelphia Flyers and Detroit Red Wings met at London, Ontario’s John Labatt Centre on Thursday night for an exhibition game. The scene at these neutral site exhibition games is often one of pure fan jubilance, but a despicable incident during the shootout would serve as an unsought reminder of one of hockey’s demons. A fan tossed a banana peel from the upper deck directly into the path of Wayne Simmonds as he skated towards the goal.

For the uninitiated, it takes a special kind of ignorant inhuman piece of shit to draw and act upon the racist connection between a banana and a black man. As much as we like to think that hockey has become a much more culturally diverse game in the last 20 years, it hasn’t. The NHL is still made up of roughly 93% white men. Hockey hasn’t shaken its label as a ‘white man’s game’ and Thursday’s incident in London called out our naivety for thinking we were beyond this type of ignorance.

Perhaps what’s most shocking of all is that Simmonds, acquired from the L.A. Kings in June, was seemingly able to shake it off, chalking it up to another occurrence of racism that he’s had to encounter in his hockey career. Simmonds told Frank Seravelli that it’s just something he’s come to expect:

“When you’re a black man playing in a predominantly white man’s sport, you’ve got to come to expect things like that. Over the past 23 years of my life, I’ve come to expect some things like that. But I’m older and more mature now, I kind of just left things roll off [my back]. I try not to think about stuff like that.”

Hockey, and the NHL more specifically, has had no shortage of occurrences of racism in recent memory. Whether it’s racial slurs being used as taunts on the ice or some idiot fan acting on some atavistic impulse, incidents like Thursday’s banana peel tossing can deflate even the most optimistic observers’ hopes that a game can be devoid of intolerance. There’s still so much more work to be done…

Quickies

Jody Shelley receives a 10-game ban for his hit on Toronto’s Darryl Boyce via the Shanahan video of justice method. [theScore]

Antero Niittymaki will miss three months for the Sharks following surgery. [Working the Corners]

Lombardi getting closer to returning for Leafs. [Globe and Mail]

Hockey Night in Canada announces its new talent lineup. Daryl Reaugh joining the Western broadcast team? Nails! [CBC]

Bodog’s Stanley Cup odds for Canadian teams. I hope the Oilers make you regret that 65/1, Mr. Bodog. [Battle of Ontario]

Sheldon Souray takes some shots at the Oilers organization, says he felt like a “prisoner” in Edmonton. [Cult of Hockey]

NHL 12 still ironing out some ‘real-time physics’ bugs

Comments (6)

  1. That first hip check looks like a jobber on WWF Superstars in 1991 who doesn’t know how to take the bump. It’s awesome.

  2. i’m embarrassed by the incident in london, i hope that guy get caught and he gets what he deserves.

  3. I hope nothing like what happened to Wayne Simmonds ever happens again. This is a source of Canadian National pride and when something like this occurs, I feel disgusted. What a disgrace.

  4. It reminds me of another black hockey player, one who does things a little differently from the stiff conservative norm. Much of the hockey world condemns him for his unbridled enthusiasm, but fail to condemn white players who act in a similar manner.

  5. The commentaries on this topic are moving and tantalizes hope for a better tomorrow in all of us. Our world is full of prejudice and the sad cry is many of us fail to recognize our individual prejudices. We are not always sensitive to these challenges; as clearly none of us are perfect. Often I have to remind people that even though we are blessed with a darker complexion; that does not make us any less Canadians than John A Macdonald. John A is an immigrant from Scotland; who became Canada’s first prime minister. Blacks are lowest on the totem pole and seldom recognized as Canadians even though they were here from as far back as the 1600′s. Until we all learn to check ourselves, educate ourselves and see each other as equals and as Canadians; the senseless prejudices we harbor will ultimately reveal many similar incidents and acts that are far worse. There are so many immigrants who arrive in this country and seek only to be accepted as Canadians’ but due to their none white status are recognized as none Canadians. There is the alternative of course, (those who come here to rob this country blind, just to return to their country of birth). I speak not of those people, I speak of the wonderful Canadians who see this country as their only home and see themselves as Canadians and not as a hyphenated Canadian. It is wonderful to read such compelling notes that help us to see the promise of racial equality here in Canada for all Canadians.

  6. Fuk U DeVoe Dyette, you hypocrite. You cry about a world full of prejudice and say that we fail to recognize our own prejudice by not recognizing people as Canadians, then you do exactly just that by proclaiming that hyphenated Canadians who KNOW their family history and their ancestry are not as Canadian as you because they regard themselves as hyphenated Canadians….you’re a joke.

    Tell your bullshit to all the English-Canadians, French-Canadians, and yes, even the plenty of Black-Canadians who call themselves hyphenated Canadians from the country that their parents or Grand-parents came from. I guess it’s OK for Canadians to know their history or ancestry if they just share your experience, right. As if European immigrants that were not English had no prejudice to endure because of Language, Religion and even physiology, or from even some Blacks who thought they were more Canadian because they spoke English and were born her Majesty’s loyal English subjects.

    Quit pretending to speak for everybody. I know plenty of black Canadians who would agree with my post before they agree with your nationalist self-promoting bullshit about everybody just being “Canadian” by not recognizing anything about their history or ancestral origin…talkabout being “whitewashed” and not in the context of skin complexion but within your brain.

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