With few exceptions, researchers have seldom explored the experiences of any female sport fan who may be identified as a member of a racial minority. Given related calls for further research, an examination into the lived experiences of ice hockey fans who identify as Black and female was undertaken. Interviews with 18 such fans revealed that the sport and its fandom were akin to ‘White spaces’: therein, participants were keenly aware of their minoritized place; subject to racial and gender stereotyping and discrimination; and prone to experiencing exclusion and trepidation. Conversely, interactions with the Black Girl Hockey Club, an organization devoted to making ice hockey more diverse and accessible, provoked feelings of belongingness and validation; and afforded a means through which interviewees could deepen their engagement with the sport. The research participants’ lived experiences ultimately point to the need for organizations and managers to construct more inclusive spaces.
Andre M. Andrijiw and F. Michelle Richardson
Andre M. Andrijiw and Craig G. Hyatt
In an attempt to understand the lived experiences of those individuals who grew up within the fan region of one professional hockey team yet chose instead to identify with a nonlocal alternative, the authors interviewed 20 Ontario (Canada) based fans of distant National Hockey League teams. Utilizing Brewer’s (1991, 2003) theory of optimal distinctiveness to examine the stories of participants, it was found that these fans maintained their team allegiances over time because doing so allowed them to achieve feelings of both uniqueness and belongingness. Sport managers can help facilitate feelings of belongingness by utilizing various communication and marketing strategies to better recognize and include their distant fans. Such strategies should ultimately result in the strengthening of the fan-team bond.