‘If You Don’t Want to Get Hurt, Don’t Play Hockey’: The Uneasy Efforts of Hockey Injury Prevention in Canada

in Sociology of Sport Journal

Click name to view affiliation

Stephen AdamsUniversity of Ottawa; Bishop’s University

Search for other papers by Stephen Adams in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Courtney W. MasonThompson Rivers University

Search for other papers by Courtney W. Mason in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
, and
Michael A. RobidouxUniversity of Ottawa

Search for other papers by Michael A. Robidoux in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Restricted access

Ice hockey is known for its speed, skill and aggression. This paper uses an analyses of injuries in boys’ minor leagues and primary documents to examine competing discourses that surround participant safety which give meaning to broader hockey practices. We problematize a prevailing discourse that preserves the physicality of Canadian hockey and an emerging reverse discourse that prioritizes player safety. Theoretically informed by Foucault’s concepts of discourse, knowledge and power relations, we interpret the relationships between these two competing discursive streams which have created a public controversy, particularly concerning body checking, and intensified a polarizing national debate. Ultimately, we argue that these discourses impact the implementation of progressive injury prevention initiatives in minor hockey and youth sport.

Le hockey sur glace est réputé pour être rapide, technique et violent. Cet article utilise une analyse des blessures et documents de ligues mineures masculines afin d’examiner les discours qui circulent à propos de la sécurité des participants et qui sont reliés aux pratiques plus générales du sport. Nous mettons en évidence un discours dominant qui préserve la physicalité du hockey canadien et un discours contraire émergeant qui priorise la sécurité des joueurs. En nous appuyant au niveau théorique sur les concepts foucaldiens de discours, savoir et relations de pouvoir, nous interprétons les relations entre ces deux courants discursifs en compétition qui ont créé une controverse publique, particulièrement en ce qui concerne les mises en échec, et intensifié un débat national polarisé. En bout de ligne, nous avançons que ces discours influencent l’implantation d’initiatives progressistes de prévention des blessures dans le hockey mineur et le sport pour les jeunes.

Adams is with the Research Centre for Sport in Canadian Society, School of Human Kinetics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, and also the Psychology Department, Bishop’s University, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada. Mason is with the Tourism Department at Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada. Robidoux is with the Research Centre for Sport in Canadian Society, School of Human Kinetics, and also the Indigenous Health Research Group, School of Human Kinetics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Address author correspondence to Stephen Adams at stephen.adams@ubishops.ca.
  • Collapse
  • Expand
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 1286 637 108
Full Text Views 1123 271 4
PDF Downloads 316 56 7