Running Head: THE OPPRESSION OF OPENLY GAY HOCKEY PLAYERS 1
The Oppression of Openly Gay Hockey Players
University of Windsor
October 25, 2018
Running Head: THE OPPRESSION OF OPENLY GAY HOCKEY PLAYERS 2
Brock Mcgillis is a now retired professional hockey player, having seen time in both the
OHL and professional leagues in the US and Europe (Mcgillis, ND). Mcgillis is a native of
Northern Ontario (Cromwell, 2018), and grew up as many Canadian kids did playing hockey.
The big difference that can be seen amongst other Canadian males is that he claims to be the first
openly gay professional hockey player (Cromwell, 2018). While playing, Mcgillis would often
find himself slandering his own sexuality, just to go along with the crowd (Cromwell, 2018). He
found himself suicidal and hating himself for what he was doing (Cromwell, 2018). Two years
ago, having been retired, the shooting at the nightclub in Florida enraged Mcgillis enough to
openly come out as gay.
Throughout retirement, Mcgillis coached and mentored younger hockey players in the
Sudbury area (Mcgillis, ND). After coming out however, he found himself being told he was no
longer welcome. ?Associations I was coaching in, where theyd allow me to coach for free, but
my business wasnt allowed to work with the players I had others (that when) coaches found
out I was gay, they kicked me off their staff., writes Andrew Cromwell (2018). Brock Mcgillis
now travels to various minor hockey teams, preaching the need for inclusiveness. This is reached
through a change in language involving homosexuals (Cromwell, 2018). He also preaches the
acceptance of all genders and races (Mcgillis, ND).
While Mcgillis now goes about his days preaching acceptance, he experienced a
circumstantial amount of oppression in his days of playing hockey. These instances were first
Running Head: THE OPPRESSION OF OPENLY GAY HOCKEY PLAYERS 3
seen during his playing days and later as a coach. The first instance was when he had to
disrespect homosexuals using slanderous names as a player. Mcgillis would be quoted as saying
It made me hate myself (Cromwell, 2018), as he had no choice but to fit in with the crowd of
his heterosexual teammates. According to Young (1990), this face of oppression is known as
cultural imperialism. Young (1990) describes cultural imperialism as … the ? dominant group
imposes its way of life, beliefs, values, and experiences on others and measures them by
dominant norms. In Mcgillis case, the dominant group would be his teammates. His
teammates are presumed to all be heterosexual males. Their beliefs are that homosexuals are
inferior and dont deserve the same rights as a heterosexual. They impose this dominant norm on
Mcgillis, and he has no choice but to comply.
The second face of oppression experienced by Mcgillis is marginalization. Young (1990)
describes marginalization as excludes whole groups of people from meaningful participation in
society. This face was shown to Mcgillis during his coaching career. After his coming out, he
was told he was no longer welcome. I had associations just tell me you cant work with our
players, Mcgillis said of his experiences (Cromwell, 2018). Associations in which he gave his
knowledge and mentorship for free, terminated him simply because of his sexuality. This event
would fit into Youngs definition as the lack of ability for meaningful participation in society.
Even though they did not know of Mcgillis sexuality, they managed to marginalize him. These
two experiences with oppression weighed down on Mcgillis, but ended up doing more good for
him than anyone would have expected.
Running Head: THE OPPRESSION OF OPENLY GAY HOCKEY PLAYERS 4
After retiring from professional hockey, Brock Mcgillis has gone down a different path.
He uses his past experiences has a platform for his discussions with younger hockey teams. In
January Mcgillis spent some time speaking with the Saint John Sea Dogs of the Quebec League.
Afterwards it was noted that he undoubtedly left an impact. Bailey Webster, the captain of the
Sea Dogs, is quoted as saying ?Even some of the guys now, theyll just theyll hear someone
just randomly say it and theyll just say listen, dont,' (Cromwell, 2018).
Before Brocks coming out as gay, many hockey players were not comfortable doing so,
many most likely still not. George Laraque, a retired Edmonton Oiler, says he knew many gay
hockey players. While these players have come out as gay to a few people, they dont wish for it
to be public until more work is done (Wong, 2017). Brock Mcgillis wishes to see a day where all
who wish to come out, in fact can (Cromwell, 2018).
The oppression Mcgillis faced as a pro hockey player, then later as a coach, had its
negative effects at first. He was suicidal and hated himself. Later he would find himself being let
go from a volunteer position for reasons based solely on his sexuality. At first glance these
obstacles would appear to be crippling for Brock in his effort to preach equality, but he defies the
odds and comes back stronger. His mission statement: ?To create equality regardless of
sexuality, gender or race while focusing on the language we use and how we can shift it to
become more inclusive. To educate LGBTQ+ youth on loving themselves and developing
strategies on how they can best accept themselves. To speak to all youth across North America
Running Head: THE OPPRESSION OF OPENLY GAY HOCKEY PLAYERS 5
and help them shift their language, treating others with respect and becoming a support system
for LGBTQ+ youth. (Mcgillis ND), speaks volumes of his commitment to equality amongst
everyone. His goal is a consequence of oppression, though unintended. Good things rarely come
from oppression, this would be a major exception.
Running Head: THE OPPRESSION OF OPENLY GAY ATHLETES 6
Cromwell, A. (2018). ?Openly Gay Former Pro Fights Homophobia in Hockey. ?Retrieved from
Mcgillis, B. (No Date). ?Striving for Equality. ?Retrieved from
Wong, J. (2017). ?Changing Attitudes Towards Homosexuality in Hockey an Uphill Battle.
Young. (1990). ?Five Types of Oppression. ?Retrieved from
?A N orth ern O nta rio n ativ e , w ho c a lls h im se lf th e fir s t o penly g ay p ro fe ssio nal
hocke y p la ye r, is in th e M arit im es t r y in g t o c h ange th e c u lt u re o f h om ophobic
la nguage w it h in th e s p ort.
Bro ck M cG illis , 3 4, s p ent s o m e t im e th is w eek w it h th e S ain t J o hn S ea D ogs o f
th e Q uebec M ajo r J u nio r H ocke y L eague.
McG illis s a ys h e to o h elp ed p erp etu ate th at v e ry c u lt u re w hen h e w as p la yin g,
alm ost to h is p eril.
It m ade m e h ate m yse lf , s a id M cG illis .
It m ade m e b elie ve I c o uld nt b e m yse lf . It m ade m e w ant to d ie
most d ays a nd I a ctu ally t r ie d to k ill m yse lf w hile I w as p la yin g
majo r ju nio r.
McG illis , lo ng s in ce r e tir e d, d ecid ed to c o m e o ut p ublic ly a bout tw o y e ars a go.
The m urd ero us r a m page a t a n O rla ndo F lo rid a g ay b ar a ngere d h im .
At th e s a m e tim e h e s a ys h is s e xu alit y w as u se d a gain st h im in h is b usin ess
where h e m ento re d a n d w ork e d w it h y o ung h ocke y p la ye rs .
I h ad a sso cia tio ns ju st te ll m e y o u c a nt w ork w it h o ur p la ye rs , M cG illis
exp la in ed.
A sso cia tio ns I w as c o ach in g in , w here th eyd a ll o w m e to c o ach
fo r fr e e, b ut m y b u sin ess w asn t a llo w ed t o w ork w it h th e p la ye rs
I h ad o th ers ( th at w hen) c o ach es fo und o ut I w as g ay, th ey k ic ke d
me o ff th eir s ta ff.
WATC H: R is in g a b ove r a cis m t h ro ugh s p ort
The S ea D ogs a re th e fir s t Q -le ague t e am M cG illis h as s p oke n to a bout
in clu siv e ness th ro ugh a c h ange in la nguage.
Team le aders s a y th eyr e c o nvin ce d h is m essa ge w ill h ave a n im pact.
E ve n s o m e o f th e g u ys n ow , th eyll ju st th eyll h ear s o m eone ju st r a ndom ly
sa y it a nd th eyll ju st s a y li s te n, d ont , ' s a id B aile y W ebste r, th e S ea D ogs
ca pta in .
McG illis s a ys th e c o nve rs a tio n n eeds to s ta rt a t th e m ajo r ju nio r le ve l a t th e