A new survey has found that many Canadians believe the culture surrounding hockey has issues concerning misogyny, racism and inclusion.
The survey by the Angus Reid Institute revealed that hockey remains an integral part of Canada’s cultural fabric, with 62 per cent of respondents saying they have at least one connection to youth hockey — either they played it themselves in the past, are close with someone who currently plays, or are simply fans.
Ninety-three per cent of respondents said hockey provides a sense of identity and community, while 87 per cent said it instills qualities such as hard work and dedication.
The survey, however, did find concerns around hockey culture, with 64 per cent of respondents who coached or played youth hockey citing issues around players bullying kids outside of the rink.
Nearly nine in 10 respondents — including those with connections to the sport and those without — said the sport was too expensive for low-income people to participate.
A vast majority said the cost to play hockey was a barrier to broader participation, with 88 per cent agreeing that hockey is too expensive for everyone to play.
When asked about misogyny in the sport, 29 per cent of all respondents said it was a serious problem, while 23 per cent said it was a small problem.
Among those with a connection to youth hockey, women were more likely than men to say the way young players treat women is a serious concern.
Twenty-nine per cent of respondents said hockey has a problem with racism, while 21 per cent said it is a problem but a small one.
Respondents who identified as a visible minority were more likely to say hockey has an issue with racism, Angus Reid noted.
Bullying remains a concern, with a majority saying hockey players bullying other players or kids outside of the rink was a problem. Sixty-two per cent said more improvement is needed.
Those who perceive problems also say more needs to be done. On the question of how young players treat women and girls, just one-quarter of female respondents say this issue is getting better.
On the question of racism, one-third say hockey is becoming more inclusive. Those who identify as a visible minority and perceive racism as an issue in the sport, however, were twice as likely to say that it is getting worse when compared to those who are not visible minorities.
The online survey of just over 1,600 adults took place between Feb. 11 and 16. The Angus Reid Institute said a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 2.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.