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Total Hockey Doesn't Want You to Play Like a Girl

Posted by BReynoldsMN , 01 April 2016 · 3,404 views

UPDATE 3:34PM - The video in question has been removed from Total Hockey's Facebook page. If you'd like the see the video they shared, it can be found here.


Ever heard the phrases "You throw like a girl," "you run like a girl," or "you hit like a girl?" Many of you, right now, are thinking to yourself, "Yeah? And? What's the big deal?" A mind set which leads companies like Total Hockey to believe it is acceptable for a brand to perpetuate the belief that hockey is not something women do well. Or for that matter, to do anything "like a girl" is to do so in a lesser manner or poorly.

Example given, a Facebook post from the hockey gear retailer on March 31st. In case they finally decide to do the right thing and remove the post, fire the people who thought it was a good idea, and apologize, here's what it looks like:

Posted Image

Seems pretty innocuous, right? A funny video about hockey. A perfect thing for Total Hockey to share. They even say that it gets "funnier every time [they] watch!" with a handful of emojis for good measure.

The video details out, in a "comedic" manner, how to be different stereotypes of beer league hockey players. The drunk guy on the ice, the goon, the guy who needs all the best equipment, and so on. Good stuff for anyone who has ever skated in a beer league game. All of these types of players are present and accounted for.

Then, at the 40 second mark, we go off the rails (assuming we were ever on them).

This is what we are presented:

Posted Image

Yes, dear readers, you can be "the girl." You know, the girl in the beer league that the male players tilt their heads to watch, and in a condescending manner think, "aw... isn't it cute how she tries to play hockey?" The video even shows her struggle to do basic stick handling to reinforce the tripe.

You can hear it, can't you? "You skate like a girl." "You shoot like a girl." "You pass like a girl." I mean... no one wants a girl on their beer league team, right?

After commenting on the post, reaching out to Total Hockey via Twitter, and reading several others try to do the same, only to be ignored, I reached out to them via their customer service chat, where I was honored with the ignorance of their "assistant customer service manager," "MattS." We only get the assistant customer service manager, because the customer service manager was off today. Lucky us.

When I asked Matt why the video was still up, despite more than one customer declaring they would never do business with a company who portrays female hockey players like this, I was told, "The video is made for comedy, it was not madeas a commentary on the state of women'shockey or anyones skill level" [sic].

The video was made for comedy, folks. Which, of course, makes it all better, right? If I just tell you that I made a racist joke in comedy, it's perfectly acceptable, yes? "Well no, NAACP, I mean, sure, I wore blackface, but it was in comedy. We're cool, yeah?" "Oh come on Anti-Defamation League, I only said the Holocaust never happened in comedy."

See how it works? You can't use a group of people as a punchline, and then brush it off as "comedy." To be fair, you can but then you get to deal with the backlash.

When I asked Matt how a clip of a female player struggling with a basic skill wasn't derogatory, his response was: "The video also has a clip about soccer players"diving" and about the guy that needs all themost expensive gear to be cool" [sic].And "To me the video makes every look unskilled,that is the humor they are going for" [sic].

Just to be clear on this point, Matt thinks that having a girl on your team is something to be loathed as much as having the guy who dives, and the guy who has to have the expensive gear. He disagreed with me when I pointed out that the guy who buys expensive gear he doesn't need and the guy who dives are making a choice about their behavior, while "the girl" is being labeled simply because of her gender, a characteristic she does not get to choose. "The girl" is the only person in the video portrayed as "unskilled" because of her genitalia.

His exact words were: "I don't personally believe that the video makesthat statement" [sic].

Which, again, makes it all better, right, Matt? That you don't think it makes that statement. What other statement does it make? I am a fairly intelligent guy. I don't see what other statement it can make to show a female player struggling to complete a basic hockey skill and then labeling her, "the girl."

We'll set that aside for a moment, because Matt assures me it's all good. "Total Hockey spends money to increase theamount of youth players of all genders andrace. We have donated gear to girls all acrossthe country" [sic].

Basically, what Matt is telling me here is that it's OK he made a racist joke because he's got a black friend.

The video is disgusting in and of itself, but some people really enjoy low brow stupid humor that is aimed at the lowest common denominator. The people who created the video likely could not care less that they denigrated 50% of the population, and made the suggestion (however thinly veiled), that women shouldn't play hockey.

The fact that Total Hockey, whose website brags about them being the "Exclusive Ice Hockey Equipment Retailer of USA Hockey," would share said video, alienating a large portion of their customer base, is ludicrous. To have an employee that not only defends the sharing of the video, but the video itself? Absolutely unacceptable. Why would a brand built on serving the entire hockey world share a video that insults half of the general population?

The answer is simple. Because the people behind the brand believe it to be true. The people behind the Total Hockey brand don't think women can play hockey as well as men.

In a world where the NWHL and CWHL are raising the bar for women's hockey, where women's hockey is an Olympic sport, where women's hockey is a D1 NCAA sport (with scholarships and everything, folks), a major hockey retailer believes that perpetuating the myth that women are somehow lesser players of the game because of their gender is truly perplexing.

Maybe the boys club at Total Hockey would like to lace up the skates against Hillary Knight, Amanda Kessel, Gigi Marvin, or anyone from a squad with seven national championships. Bet any of these women would deke you right out of your precious little jock straps, boys.

Since they likely wouldn't step up to the challenge of facing hockey players who can actually play the game, maybe the boys at Total Hockey could sit back in their uncomfortable chairs, wake up from their day dream about the time they scored on that one goalie in their bantam year, and watch a video that shows just what the outcome is of teaching people that "like a girl" is an acceptable joke to make.

If you'd like to reach out to Total Hockey to express your opinion about the video, they can be reached on Facebook, Twitter, and they would, apparently, love for you to email them at info@totalhockey.com. Let them know you're there because Matt couldn't handle the situation.