Keep your misogyny out of hockey games

Zoe Leone, Associate Arts & Life Editor

Before I transferred to Quinnipiac University this fall, I had never been to a hockey game. Perhaps that was why I was in such a state of shock when I had to endure the screaming chorus of men taunting the Cornell goalie with chants about a female member of his family on Nov. 5.

There were whispers throughout the stands about whether it was a mother or a sister, but still, the chants continued to grow in volume as more and more of the audience joined in on the verbal berating.

I thought I was losing my mind. Surely there was no way half of the student section was using the name of a woman who wasn’t even on the opposing team to try to trip a male player off his game. Surely by the year 2022 enough of us had learned that wasn’t acceptable behavior.

And yet, at this weekend’s Clarkson game, the misogynistic roars started up once again, this time boasting the name of the Clarkson goalie’s mother. They originated from two men in flannels, standing in the stands and shouting her name over and over.

The screaming was bad enough as is. And then one of them passed his partner-in-crime his drink, sat on the top of his chair, and shouted, “You let in more than your mother does!”

The comment fell divided upon the student section. Some fans, mostly male from my observation, seemed amused by the taunt. Others looked around uncomfortably, as if looking for validation that other people disapproved.

I’m sure to most it seems like a minor offense, nothing more than a simple “your mother” joke. But when you take the time to look at the opposing roster and ignore the names of any male relatives present to focus on the women, is it really still a joke?

In 2020, Washington Capitals’ player Brendan Leipsic was forced to apologize after highly misogynistic messages were leaked from a groupchat of him and his friends, including fellow NHL player Jack Rodewald. According to CBS Sports, Leipsic made disparaging comments about a Vancouver Canucks’ player’s wife and other pregnant women. Both men are still active players.

In June, Hockey Canada was called to stand in front of a committee after the organization allegedly ignored sexual assault claims from a woman who would later sue, according to TSN. She alleged she was repeatedly assaulted while under the influence by eight Canadian Hockey League members, who got off with no sanctions after a settlement was eventually reached.

The examples are exhaustive, but the point remains: misogyny seems to have a welcome home in hockey.

I’m well aware that most would call me sensitive, or say “it’s just boys being boys” or “it’s not all men.” Insert overused excuse for men perpetrating violence against women of your choice here.

It doesn’t matter that it was just some chanting at a college hockey game. It matters that male fans think it’s acceptable to sexualize and degrade a woman and to do so for the sake of a man. It matters that it happened at all.

Female fans deserve to be able to sit through a hockey game without feeling like they’d be thrown to the wolves by the people around them if it benefitted the game.

Female members of the media deserve to be able to do their job in a field that’s primarily male without listening to the belittlement of other women associated with the sport.

Female relatives of hockey players deserve to be able to attend a game without worrying that they might hear their names fly from the mouths of fans.

Misogyny may be allowed at the M&T Bank Arena, but it’s not welcome. Fans need to find a new way to trash talk. Or maybe they simply need to stay home.