Sask. hockey team says sorry for misunderstanding with transgender girl’s family

Ellenor Kormos told the Regina Leader Post she had been removed from the Melville Millionaires billet program after a player objected to living in the same house as Kormos's transgender granddaughter. File/Getty Images

A Saskatchewan junior hockey club is apologizing for what it calls a misunderstanding with a transgender girl’s family that hosts hockey players in its home.

The Melville Millionaires released a statement Wednesday to the Kormos family and to the general public addressing a situation that “appears to have many organizations and communities aggrieved.”

The outrage started when Ellenor Kormos told the Regina Leader-Post she had been removed from the team’s billet program after a player objected to living in the same house as her transgender granddaughter. Kormos told the newspaper the family had been up front about the situation before the player moved in.

The hockey club said there was a misinterpretation of what happened in a meeting with Kormos, also known as Grandma K.

“At no time was it stated or implied that she would be taken off our list of billets. At this time, Mrs. Kormos is still on our list and is a potential billet host for another player who may come to our team and community,” the statement said.

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“Mrs. Kormos and her live-in family members have never been viewed, labelled or deliberately portrayed in a negative way by the hockey club.”

Kormos could not be reached for comment Wednesday.<

The team also said it is working with an organization called Moose Jaw Pride to provide diversity training in the future.

Joe Wickenhauser, executive director of Moose Jaw Pride and the Saskatchewan Pride Network, said there can be misunderstandings in communities. Moose Jaw Pride reached out to the Melville Millionaires.

"We also know from our experience in working with different organizations that this is not always some malevolent act," said Wickenhauser.

"Often times it's organizations that really are just not prepared to have discussions around gender and sexual diversity, and really the organizations need more information. They need better policies. They need training. That's the sort of work that we want to do to bring our communities together."

Wickenhauser said he had also spoken with Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League president Bill Chow.

"This challenging incident has happened and so what's the best way to move forward," Wickenhauser said.

The league does not have a diversity policy.

Chow said he and Wickenhauser talked at length Wednesday and the league is open to providing training to coaches, players and its boards of governors.

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Chow also said the situation probably escalated to a point it shouldn't have.

"This started off as a simple request that happens a thousand times a year across Canada and across North America, where somebody wants to be moved from a billet's house, or a billet family wants a player to be moved out of their house for whatever situation," he said.

"It's really unfortunate that we've ended up where we are, but we are, so at the end of the day, I think it'll all make us smarter and wiser."

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