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Hockey, Mental Health, Recovery, Support, Tragedy, Trauma


Craig Greenham



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Historically, hockey has been a sport entrenched in a culture of silence rooted in the ideals of hegemonic masculinity and the refusal to show vulnerability. Accordingly, it can be difficult for athletes to receive appropriate care and resources following a team tragedy or crisis. Although there has recently been a greater acknowledgement of the importance of mental health within society, hockey organizations tend to resist change – holding to past patterns. There has been, however, a greater call to action from prominent industry stakeholders to increase mental health resources and provide improved player outcomes. In team-related emergency situations, athletes may face long term mental health complications as a result of their participation in sport if they are not provided with adequate resources to properly recover following a traumatic experience. These complications could arise from situations such as observing a teammate’s death, experiencing a bus crash, or even witnessing a gruesome injury within the sport. This study attempted to identify the resources that exist within organizations that can be accessed and administered in times of grief, while also blueprinting what a response to tragedy could resemble given the barriers and capacities that exist throughout different hockey organizations. The findings provide multiple opinions and viewpoints on what an appropriate response to team tragedy could-should include. The results of the study showed that all participants believed athletes exposed to tragedy should have access to mental health professionals and resources, and that an emergency response plan would be of value to their organization. Nevertheless, organizations lacked clear direction in drafting protocols and action plans. This inquiry culminated in the creation of policy recommendations that can help guide organizations prepare and administer an emergency action plan that will help suffering athletes.