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The NHL witch hunts have begun

The NHL is well about to enter a grievance-fuelled McCarthyist era with blacklists and all.
Barrett Wilson Montreal, QC

The NHL will be implementing new changes in order to deal with the social justice frenzy that has been going on since the firing of Don Cherry from Hockey Night in Canada. Cherry was fired on Remembrance Day for his now-infamous “you people” moment when he chastised new Canadians for not wearing the poppy.

According to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, there will be mandatory counselling and training concerning anti-bullying and racism.

TSN reports that “The NHL plans to establish an anonymous hotline for players and team personnel to report inappropriate conduct; coaches and management will participate in mandatory annual training on inclusion and harassment; inappropriate conduct will result in discipline from teams, the league or both.”

At a press conference last Friday, Bettman said, “Inclusion and diversity are not simply buzz words. They are foundational principles of the NHL,” and went on to say, “Our message is unequivocal: We will not tolerate abusive behaviour of any kind.”

Shortly after Cherry’s firing, Mike Babcock was let go from the Toronto Maple Leafs. Sportsnet detailed one of the major allegations against Babcock: “[Babcock] was accused of maltreating forward Mitch Marner in his rookie season by making him list the hardest working players on the team and which ones didn’t have a strong work ethic. Babcock later told the players whom Marner had listed without Marner’s knowledge.”

Bill Peters was next on the chopping block. Former player Akim Aliu made an allegation against Peters regarding racial slurs, about a decade ago, while they were both in the AHL. Peters apologized for the incident but was made to resign anyway.

Most recently, Jim Montgomery of the Dallas Stars was let go by his team citing “unprofessional conduct.” Details on the situation are scant at this point. It could be warranted or it could be an overreach.

Some of the points involved in the NHL’s new plan include:

  • Incidents of unacceptable behaviour being reported immediately by teams. Otherwise the use of “severe discipline” will be used
  • Immediate punishment for past, present and future incidents
  • Mandatory yearly counselling for coaches and managers focusing on diversity and inclusion.
  • Anonymous hotline for players
  • A disciplinary council run by NHL executive vice-president Kim Davis

Bettman said that he has been given full support by the board of governors concerning the new “code of conduct.”

There aren’t any conclusive ways to measure the effectiveness of diversity and inclusivity training. Diversity and inclusion specialists advocate for ongoing training as opposed to a one time shot, to make sure that the messages are driven home over and over again. This is becoming industry standard in more places than the NHL, and while it makes for a good press release, there’s no conclusive evidence to believe that it helps. What is definitely does is put people on edge and add stress.

Severe discipline. A snitch line. Diversity training. Free-thinking, reasonable people know where this will lead.

The experts who will be brought in will be drunk on progressivism and cancel culture. And they will reframe the conversation, and the thought processes so that people will constantly try to see how they were personally wronged.

It doesn’t have to be this way, but it’s going to be. The NHL is well about to enter a grievance-fuelled McCarthyist era. The blacklists, witch hunts and virtue signalling have already begun. And it’s a damn shame.

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