by Angus Reid | September 16, 2021 10:00 am
The old adage goes that “actions speak louder than words.” Hockey fans can be forgiven then if they were upset by the Montreal Canadiens decision to draft 18-year-old prospect Logan Mailloux.
Mailloux, a Canadian from Belle River, Ontario, was playing for a Swedish Club last year – SK Lejon – when he took an illegal photo of a young woman without her knowledge and shared it with teammates. He was criminally convicted for invasion of privacy and defamation in Sweden – though the club allowed him to remain active and finish his season while the investigation took place.
Mailloux apologized publicly after the news emerged and went so far as to request that teams not draft him in the NHL’s 2021 entry draft. The Montreal Canadiens ignored this request, creating a self-inflicted firestorm, selecting him 31st overall.
Data indicates that Canadians are aware that there is a problem with misogyny and the way women and girls are treated by young hockey players – a troubling cultural aspect of a game that is so important to so many.
In a recent study from the Angus Reid Institute, more than half of Canadians said that they perceive a problem with the way young hockey players treat women. Troublingly, those closer to the game are even more likely to say that they’ve witnessed these issues:
Importantly, this issue is one that exists for young women across the country on a very real level – far from the social media debates and contract implications of hockey leagues. Young women – 18 to 34 years of age – who are close to the game, are most likely to say that this is a serious problem. Notably, young men appear to be aware of these issues as well, though less likely to perceive them as significant:
After criticism from fans – including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – and threats from sponsors, team owner Geoff Molson released a statement calling the decision a mistake and saying that Mailloux will not take part in training camp this year. Mailloux was also suspended indefinitely by the Ontario Hockey League in September, and will be able to apply for reinstatement in January, 2022. His future beyond this year is unclear. The team has also stated that it will support the victim with anything she needs as they work with Mailloux on his commitment to change.
That said, victims of sexual misconduct do not get to erase their experiences, and the decision to draft Mailloux regardless of his actions is felt to be disrespectful to those who have endured the same challenges. As writer and broadcaster Ian Mendes of The Athletic stated recently: “Young women don’t exist in the world to be teachable moments”.
The Canadiens announced a new program, the Respect and Consent Action Plan, which will focus on raising awareness both within the organization and among the broader public about sexual cyberviolence and its consequences.
While that program will likely be welcomed by many, the lack of foresight here potentially helps to explain why, to this point, just one-in-three Canadians say there is progress being made on how young men treat young women within hockey culture. Notably, men of all ages are much more likely to say that the community is doing enough to make progress:
Source URL: https://angusreid.org/canadiens-pick-of-logan-mailloux-underlines-a-broader-problem-in-hockey-culture/
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