Could His Pain Lead The Way To Progress?
As the first Black man to play professionally in Canada’s Atlantic Intercollegiate Hockey League, Bob Dawson caught hell from every corner of the ice.
First, the racial slurs started. Then, there were the foul opponents cutting him with skate blades, tripping and slapping him with sticks, and more. On it went until he found a way to fight back.
After retiring from the sport, he went on a fact-finding mission, thoroughly documenting all the racist treatment he knew Black players experienced on the ice, on the internet, in locker rooms, and throughout the press.
Dawson collected all this evidence, proving that the problem was prevalent during his prime and continues today with social media attacks. He sent his findings straight to league leaders, hoping for something to be done.
When no one moved forward to reconcile the past, he doubled down.
He advanced community concern through panel discussions with topics like “Hockey and the Black Community,” history seminars highlighting the contributions of Black hockey trailblazers, and roundtables covering how sports media, analysts and commentators are complicit in the racism Black players experience.
This was a crusade to call out a system that refused to recognize the shameful struggles of players, parents, and community leaders invested in young players who deserve visibility, equality, and protection - not bigotry and hate - in Canada’s most popular sport.
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