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Comments made on an episode of CTV’s The Social yesterday have received heavy online backlash following comments made by one of their correspondents regarding Don Cherry’s firing, though the centre of the controversy has clarified some of her statements.
Former Maclean’s magazine editor and TV talk show co-host Jessica Allen was at the receiving end of plenty of online backlash following comments made about Don Cherry, and the “altar of hockey” which Canada worships, going on to say that the “white boy” hockey players could have used their parents’ money to instead, travel the world.
“Maybe it’s because of where I grew up, and going to a couple different universities. In my mind, in my experience, who does. They all tended to be white boys, who weren’t very nice, they weren’t very thoughtful they were often bullies, their parents were able to afford to spend $5000 a year on minor hockey. You could do other things than spend time in an arena, you could go on a trip and learn about the world. See other things. The world is a big place, maybe get outside of that bubble.”
The comments prompted swift replies from many upset hockey moms nationwide, who felt as though Allen was making sweeping generalizations about their sons, and undermining the importance and sense of community that many small towns across Canada have attached to the game.
During the controversy, CTV did not reply to TPM‘s request for comment, though Allen went on the air the next day and decided to clear the air.
“It turns out I struck a nerve with many people when I spoke of personal experiences with specific people who were hockey players — white, not typically kind or thoughtful, and typically bullies, from affluent families. I wish these experiences didn’t happen, and they no way negate the positive experiences that millions in this country have had with hockey,” said Allen.
“My lived experiences certainly don’t negate how much good the sport does for communities and families across the country. Rest assured hockey families, I wasn’t speaking about your sons and daughters, who I’m sure aren’t bullies, and I’m sure love hockey as much as you do,” Allen continued, before rattling off examples of the positive effects it has had in her family.
“I was speaking about my own lived experiences, often negative experiences with those who played the sport, and how they led to me being conflicted with hockey being so closely bound with our national identity.
Allen’s comments may not have gone over as well as she had hoped, though, as many perceived her comments as doubling down.
This prompted the Twitter hashtags #FireJessAllen and #FireJessicaAllen to trend for the better part of Thursday.
Though Allen attempted to clarify that she was speaking about her own experiences, it seems as though she may have struck the same nerve twice.