November, the second month of N.H.L. Season brought changes behind the bank and in the broadcasting station, which reflected a cultural change in the sport that can reverberate over years. The league's highest paid coach was unemployed and another established coach resigned due to racist fanaticism and physical abuse. At the broadcast booth, one of the longest-standing people in the ice hockey media was expelled from his post after the recent controversy that sparked his comments.
The transformation began with a show on "Hockey Night in Canada" on November 9, when former coach and longtime media personality Don Cherry denounced immigrants for refusing to honor Canadian war veterans.
"You love people who come here, whatever it is, you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey. At the very least, you could pay a few dollars for poppy seeds, ”said Cherry, referring to the poppy pins that were worn in Canada on Remembrance Day.
Kirsch's comments were interpreted by some as defending veterans, but by many others as xenophobic. His tendency to jingoistic statements about hockey and Canadian society had led to disputes since the 1980s, and he was dismissed from Rogers Sportsnet on November 12.
Eight days later, Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock was the most lucrative deal ever for an N.H.L. Trainer, lost his job.
Allegedly, it was a below-average team that had fired their coach. Toronto has not reached the second round of playoffs since 2004, and the Leafs' fortune has not improved in that regard under Babcock since taking office in the 2015/16 season.
But when his coaching methods came under fire, there was an unexpected turn. Canadian news media reported that he once asked striker Mitch Marner, then a 19-year-old rookie, to rank his teammates from the toughest to the poorest, and then shared the list with the team.
Player Babcock had trained, including Mike Commodore and Johan Franzen, took the opportunity to fire him to criticize him on Twitter and in interviews with news media, calling him "a terrible person"And a" bully ".
The criticism of Babcock sparked a discussion about harassment and abuse of power among juniors, minor leagues and professionals in hockey. And then one of his charges, Calgary Flames coach Bill Peters, was seduced.
Five days after Babcock's release, Peters was replaced by a former N.H.L. player 10 years ago in a tirade against the player with racist insults. This happened when Peters was coach of the Chicago Blackhawks American Hockey League and Akim Aliu, whose parents were born in Nigeria and Ukraine, started pro hockey in the 2009/10 season.
Two of Alius' teammates supported his claims, and the Flames and N.H.L. announced they would investigate.
During the investigation, the former N.H.L. Defender Michal Jordan, now playing in Russia's top league, said Peters kicked him and beat one of his teammates while the coach was at the Carolina Hurricanes.
Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour, then an assistant, and former hurricanes general manager, Ron Francis, confirmed Jordan's story. Both said the situation was internally settled at the time, although Peter Karmanos Jr., then the main owner of the Hurricanes, told the Seattle Times last week that he was unaware of the events and would have fired Peters if he did would have been .
Peters resigned on Friday after apologizing to the Flames – but not directly to Aliu. The investigation of the N.H.L. continues and Peter's behavior has opened the gates of the earlier ones Players who share anecdotes physical, psychological and sexual abuse in hockey and racism and homophobia within sport.
On Saturday, three weeks after Cherry's anti-immigration statements, the Hockey Night in Canada debated diversity, inclusion and abuse by coaches.
"It's kind of #MeToo Move"Said Georges Laraque, a Haitian Canadian who played 12 seasons on the national team.
He added: "Akim had the courage to talk about what happened to him because it looks like this:" Perhaps this is the time when players can express themselves and there will be justice. "
Laraque said that the Peters incident in particular could end the abuse silence.
"The way coaches are selected will change forever," he said. "And people might realize that it doesn't matter how much you earn, athletes are sometimes abused. They are not invincible."