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New racism and old stereotypes in the National Hockey League: the stacking of aboriginal players into the role of enforcer

Faculty Advisor




racism in sports, minorities in sports

Abstract (summary)

Tracing the roles played by Aboriginal hockey players in the National Hockey League (NHL) from the mid-1970s to 2010, this chapter takes an historical, longitudinal view to explain the abundance of Aboriginals, that is, Indians, Inuit, and Métis men, in the role of enforcer, a one-dimensional player who does little more than fight. "Stacking" is a term that draws attention to certain social factors that account for the position — or, for the purposes of this chapter, the role — a player is assigned or expected to fulfill as a member of a team. To situate the phenomenon of stacking Aboriginal hockey players as enforcers, the place of Aboriginal peoples within Canada is examined, particularly an historically informed analysis of the concept of Othering within democratic racism. To build the case of the stacking of Aboriginal hockey players, quantitative data is analyzed, with penalty minutes, major penalties, and fights examined for each National Hockey League season in which Aboriginal representation made up at least 1 percent of the league's players. The results indicate that Aboriginal NHL players have disproportionately fulfilled the role of enforcer; these results are considered in relation to the history of the culture of racism in Canada.

Publication Information

Valentine, J. (2012). New Racism and Old Stereotypes in the National Hockey League: The Stacking of Aboriginal Players into the Role of Enforcer. In Darnell, S., Joseph, J. & Nakamura, Y. (Eds.), Race and Sport in Canada. Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press, 107-135.



Item Type

Book Chapter




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