In this episode of Fire on the Ice, I continue to look at older men who play hockey. This time, I’m with a slightly younger group of men, hockey players between 54 and 71, in Atlantic Canada. However, the forms of masculinity the men expressed changed depending on the kind of league they were playing in. Some played what’s commonly and somewhat misleadingly called old-timers hockey, competitive leagues for men over the age of 35 and 45 years. Others played more informal and less competitive “pickup” games at local arenas a few times a week. I found that men in both leagues appreciated the friendships they developed through the game, and they described a locker room that was less focused on sexism and machismo than locker rooms inhabited by younger players. However, the men in the old-timers’ league still experienced a lot of intensively competitive behaviour on their teams, leading to on-ice aggression and violence. On the other hand, the men in the pick-up league privileged congeniality, cautiousness, and care for others over on-ice glory.

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Dr. Kristi Allain

Associate Professor of Sociology; Canada Research Chair in Physical Culture and Social Life St. Thomas University, Fredericton, NB.

Kristi Allain holds a Canada Research Chair in Physical Culture and Social Life. She is an Associate Professor of Sociology at St. Thomas University, Fredericton, NB. Drawing together the themes of aging, physical activity, gender, and national identity, and through academic and popular research dissemination, Kristi Allain’s work challenge the ways that national celebrations of sport marginalize certain groups, particularly those in later life. By emphasizing an ethics of pleasure, resistance, and intergenerational community-building her work creates more space for for the participation and celebration of national “others” in Canadian sport.