More needs to be done about racism at hockey rinks, fan says after seeing Indigenous caricature

News source from CTV News

Nathaniel Dove, CTV Regina

Published Friday, March 8, 2019 6:57PM CST

Last Updated Friday, March 8, 2019 7:08PM CST

Joni McKay travelled to the village of Theodore to watch a hockey game, not to be harassed by a racist.

On Wednesday night McKay was at the Theodore hockey arena to watch a game between the Ochapawace Thunder and the Theodore Buffaloes when she says she saw a man who had a sign with a stereotypical caricature of an Indigenous person.

She asked him to remove it and he turned to face her.

“As he turned it around I asked him if he thought it was funny and he looked at me in the eyes and said ‘it looks like you.’”

McKay says she has often experienced racism in hockey rinks.

She took a photo of the man and the sign and posted it to Facebook, where the Federation of the Sovereign Indigenous Nations saw it and reposted it.

Many Indigenous players face racist taunts on the ice, FSIN First Vice-Chief Morley Watson says.

“I think the greater concern is for the treatment that a lot of our on-ice younger hockey players receive from hockey players, and perhaps from players and fans.”

McKay says the Theodore team has offered an apology to the Ochapawace Thunder but says it shows there’s more work to be done.

“You write [zero tolerance for racism] on your board but nothing is done about it,” she said.

Both McKay and Vice-Chief Watson said that they do not blame Theodore itself, but Watson said he will be reaching out to the village council and the Saskatchewan Hockey Association — the organizing group for the hockey teams — to find ways to prevent racism in the future.

The Theodore Village Council did not respond to CTV News’ request for comment and the SHA declined to comment.

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