The Leafs made an important announcement today in regards to Diversity and Inclusion within the Leafs organization with two key hirings:
It’s great to see Mark Fraser return to the Leafs, and earlier this year Mark Fraser joined Jason Gregor of TSN 1260 and Oilersnation to speak about his experiences as a Person of Colour in hockey:
It wasn’t a constant thing, however, some of my memorable incidents dealing with racism in hockey came at a younger age, unfortunately. You know whether that be from opposing team’s parents or then at the junior level, ridiculous fans sitting beside the penalty box, and having a few moments to utter some racial slurs your direction. That was definitely something that I experienced before I hit the pros.
At the pro level though, I mean yeah, definitely I encountered it. I don’t think that there is a single black hockey player who hasn’t experienced racism both at grassroots and at pro levels if they made it that far.
The difference between the two, for me, was the overt racism in my youth. At the pro level, it would have been more, more in an inadvertent, perhaps systematic or systemic way. Just things and experiences that all black athletes and hockey players would have dealt with at that level, at that scope.
It might not be overt, especially in the hockey community, a place of ignorance, a place of unknowing, a place of not really even fathoming or understanding that things that could be said, perceived, directed, decisions made, just things that are almost on a day-to-day basis.
I strongly recommend checking out the full interview, as it is a great insight into what Mark Fraser brings to this role. It’s encouraging to see the Leafs take these necessary steps in the right direction.