Inclusion in hockey: anger, frustration and disappointment for Caroline Ouellette
When it comes to the cancellation of an event in support of the LGBTQ+ community by the New York Rangers and Islanders, Caroline Ouellette lowers her eyes. Sorrow, disappointment, anger and incomprehension mix on his face.
“If as an organization, you say loud and clear that you want to make hockey inclusive, you have to do it, she insists. I understand that there are all sorts of political, contract or player association issues, but before taking this initiative, you need to be sure that everyone on your team is on board.
“It's valuable because I think it's safe to assume that most players know someone in the community and would be all in to support the idea that hockey should be for everyone,” adds Ouellette.
The assistant coach of the Canadian women's hockey team, met on the sidelines of the Rivalry Series against the Americans which will know its conclusion Wednesday evening in Laval, has the impression of going back.
“Before really knowing someone who comes from the LGBTQ+ community, people may not understand what we're going through,” says Ouellette, passing on the ideas of some family members or loved ones before she did. his coming out. There are still a lot of mentalities to change. It starts with us having the courage to say who we are and others having the courage to say it's okay. »
Black History Month
In addition to organizing events to encourage the LBGTQ+ cause, NHL teams are doing the same on the occasion of Black History Month. Last week, the Canadiens' players donned a sweater designed by a Haitian-born artist.
“Nobody would refuse to wear a sweater in honor of Black History Month by saying that it's against his religion [like Ivan Provorov, of the Flyers]. But we allow ourselves to do it for the LGBTQ+ community, it doesn't make sense,” thunders Dominique Théberge, of the JAG organization.
“It proves that we are at different stages of acceptance of differences, added Ouellette. For both communities, it was difficult several years ago. We have made a lot of progress, but leaders must stand up. »