Hockey Talk: A Textured Description of Morality and Ethics in a Sporting Context
Across societies, morality and ethics manifest in many social arenas. Sports, and especially national sports such as ice hockey in Canada, are no exception. There is little consensus on the meaning of on- and off-ice actions, though, as hockey players, parents, fans, and others use multiple moral and ethical frameworks in ways that can conflict. Currently, disagreement exists particularly over the meaning of violent action, including fighting, and the meaning of action where a person’s ethno-racial identity may be a factor at play. Drawing on ethnographic research collected during the 2018-19 and 2019-20 hockey seasons, including 80 interviews and 84 structured observations, this thesis describes hockey people’s talk. It argues that hockey people rely on moral trajectories to structure their talk so that certain actions, inactions, speech, and silence become good and right things to do, or not do. The thesis argues that White identity in hockey is particularly heterogeneous, and that common disagreements about the meaning of action exist among all ethno-racial groups. Studies of ethno-racial subjectivity ought to take this into account. The findings in this thesis contribute to the fields of hockey and sports, morality and ethics, as well as ethno-racial identity and Whiteness Studies.