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Hockey has long been about white machismo. Can the NHL change that?

The ice has not always been a welcoming place for people of color. But as the demographics of North America change the league knows it must adapt

No team sport projects white machismo as aggressively as ice hockey. Fans witness violence that, were the majority of players black or brown, would prompt pearl-clutching about “incivility” or “disrespect.” Racism accompanies players and fans of color alike, from the youth level all the way up to the NHL. The league’s newest mascot may be a leftist hero, but even Gritty couldn’t stop a Flyers broadcaster from spewing racist vitriol while commenting on another sport with Native American roots.

“You see it, hear it and start recognizing who’s picked on by announcers, media and fans,” NativeHockey.com founder Shannon Valerio says. She notes that similar shades of racism affect all hockey participants of color – the recent racist abuse of a black hockey player in Quebec is just one example.

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