Hockey provides Pathway to Integration for Newcomers

June 4, 2019

VANCOUVER, June 4, 2019 — Hockey is the quintessential Canadian game and is considered emblematic of our country. Whether it’s being played by kids at a local rink, or by professionals on TV, hockey unites us and gives everyone something to cheer for. It’s part of what makes us feel Canadian, and the history and traditions of the game are embedded in our national identity.

But what does that mean for newcomers to Canada? Does Canada’s multiculturalism — itself a key part of our national identity — extend to the hockey arena? Can hockey help integrate newcomers into Canadian society?

Lloyd Wong, a researcher in the Department of Sociology at the University of Calgary, is investigating these questions. Partnering with Howard Ramos of Dalhousie University, the research team is conducting interviews with hockey players and fans at arenas in Calgary, Toronto, and Halifax. Both researchers grew up playing hockey, a personal interest which dovetails with their professional interests.

Wong says that initial findings suggest that hockey “has a community-building aspect,” helping immigrants who play or watch the game to integrate into Canadian life. Furthermore, participating in hockey can help newcomers develop a sense of Canadian identity.

While the project is ongoing, Wong says the new knowledge gained “will contribute to a better understanding of the role of hockey in Canadian multiculturalism.” He thinks these results could have policy implications, specifically around making sports like hockey more accessible and inclusive for underrepresented and marginalized populations in Canada.

The paper Just Add Ice?: Hockey and the Social Integration of Newcomers and Racialized Minorities by Lloyd Wong and Howard Ramos is among thousands of new pieces of research being presented this week at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. Canada’s largest academic gathering, Congress brings 8,000 of the country’s brightest researchers, thinkers, and policy-makers to Vancouver from June 1-7.

Congress is organized by the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, which promotes research and teaching for the advancement of an inclusive, democratic and prosperous society. With a membership now comprising over 160 universities, colleges and scholarly associations, the Federation represents a diverse community of 91,000 researchers and graduate students across Canada. Congress 2019 is hosted by The University of British Columbia.

The Congress 2019 media kit can be downloaded here. More information about Congress is available on their websiteTwitter and Facebook.


The views and opinions expressed by the researchers in this media release and in the paper being presented at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences are their own and do not reflect those of the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences nor of The University of British Columbia.

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