Transcript: Sports and Identity | Jun 28, 2016

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, checkered white shirt, and checked red tie.

A caption on screen reads "Sports and belonging."

Steve says EXERCISE ISN'T JUST
GOOD FOR YOUR HEATH: BEING
INVOLVED IN A SPORT CAN ALSO
HELP PEOPLE FEEL PART OF
SOMETHING BIGGER.
AND AS CANADA'S POPULATION
CONTINUES TO DIVERSIFY, RESEARCH
SHOWS THAT SOME OF THE FIRST
STEPS TO INCLUSIVITY CAN COME
FROM JOINING A SPORTS TEAM.
TO FIND OUT WHY, AND HOW TO MAKE
THE MOST OF THAT, WE'RE JOINED
BY:
MEDHAT MAHDY, PRESIDENT OF THE
YMCA OF ONTARIO;

Medhat is in his sixties, clean-shaven, with short gray hair. He's wearing rounded glasses, a gray suit, and a blue shirt.

Steve continues HEATHER STEEL, DIRECTOR OF THE
INSIGHTS PROGRAM AT THE
INSTITUTE FOR CANADIAN
CITIZENSHIP AND AUTHOR OF THE
REPORT "PLAYING TOGETHER - NEW
CITIZENS, SPORTS AND
BELONGING";

Heather is in her forties, with straight brown hair to her shoulders. She's wearing a gray blazer over a purple blouse.

Steve continues YUKA NAKAMURA, ASSISTANT
PROFESSOR IN THE SCHOOL OF
KINESIOLOGY AND HEALTH SCIENCE
AT YORK UNIVERSITY;

Yuka is in her late forties, with long straight black hair. She's wearing glasses, a gray blazer and a white shirt.

Steve continues AND, SUNIL THAKOLKAREN, NHL
STUDIO PRODUCER FOR ROGERS SPORTSNET.

Sunil is in his forties, shaven-headed, with a stubble. He's wearing a gray suit and a white shirt.

Steve continues I'M HAPPY TO WELCOME ALL OF
YOU TVO TODAY.
THANKS FOR BEING HERE.
LET'S SHARE, HEATHER, I WANT TO
START BY SHARING SOME OF THE
NUMBERS OUT OF YOUR REPORT.
SHELDON, LET'S PUT THESE UP.
THIS SAYS A LOT.

A slate appears on screen, with the title "New citizens. Attitudes towards sport."

Steve reads from the slate and says
95 percent OF NEW CITIZEN RESPONDENTS
BELIEVE THAT SPORTS ARE AN
IMPORTANT COMPONENT OF CANADIAN
CULTURE.
87 percent OF RESPONDENTS SAID WATCHING
THEIR CHILDREN PLAY SPORTS ARE
VOLUNTEERING FOR AN ORGANIZED
SPORTS TEAM MADE THEM FEEL MORE
CONNECTED TO THEIR COMMUNITY.
AND 69 percent OF NEW CITIZENS WHO
PLAYED SPORTS WITHIN THEIR FIRST
3 YEARS IN CANADA BELIEVE IT
HELPED THEM LEARN ABOUT CANADIAN
CULTURE.
SO LET'S EXPLORE THAT.
THESE ARE YOUR NUMBERS.
LET'S START HERE.
HOW DO SPORTS MAKE NEWCOMERS
FEEL MORE CANADIAN?

The caption changes to "Heather Steel. Institute for Canadian citizenship."
Then, it changes again to "Building a new roster."

Heather says SURE.
WELL, SPORTS IS, WHAT WE HEARD
WAS A REALLY NATURAL CONNECTION
POINT BETWEEN PEOPLE.
YOU DON'T REALLY NEED TO SPEAK
THE SAME LANGUAGE.
AS LONG AS YOU KNOW THE SAME
GAME, YOU CAN PLAY TOGETHER.
AND THEY SAID THAT IT WAS A
BETTER WAY TO GET TO KNOW PEOPLE
THAN AT WORK.
CANADIANS, THEY SAID, TEND TO BE
KIND OF RESERVED AT WORK.
SO GET THEM ON THE FIELD,
THEY'RE A LITTLE BIT MORE OPEN.
AND PEOPLE START TO MAKE FRIENDS
AND I THINK THAT'S HOW YOU START
TO BUILD YOUR COMMUNITY AND
BECOME CONNECTED TO YOUR
COMMUNITY IS BY BUILDING THAT
SOCIAL NETWORK, AND THEY CAN
LEARN THE SOFT SKILLS THAT YOU
CAN'T LEARN FROM A BOOK.
SO THEY CAN LEARN CANADIAN
SLANG.
WE HAVE A LOT OF EXPRESSIONS
THAT ARE BASED ON SPORTS.
IT'S A WAY TO LEARN THAT KIND OF
THING.
WHAT KIND OF GESTURES ARE
ACCEPTABLE.
THE SENSE OF HUMOUR WE HAVE.
HOW TO DEAL WITH CONFLICT ON THE
FIELD.
THEY CAN TAKE THAT APPLY THAT TO
THAT YOU ARE LIVES OUTSIDE OF
THE FIELD.

Steve says YUKA, IT'S A ONE
THING BECAUSE SPORTS CAN ALSO BE
VIOLENT AND YOU WOULDN'T
NECESSARILY THINK THAT AN ARENA
OF VIOLENCE IS A GREAT PLACE TO
LEARN HOW TO BE A GREAT CANADIAN
CITIZEN.
HOW DOES IT WORK?

The caption changes to "Yuka Nakamura. York University."

Yuka says BECAUSE
YOU FEEL CONNECTED.
YOU HAVE COMMON GROUND.
HEATHER ALREADY MENTIONED THAT.
A LOT OF THESE SPORTS ARE GLOBAL
NOW, BASKETBALL, SOCCER, THESE
ARE SPORTS THAT ARE NOT JUST
POPULAR IN CANADA.
HOCKEY, THERE'S WEATHER AND
CLAIMANT ISSUES THERE THAT
REALLY LIMIT HOW GLOBAL IT CAN
GET, BUT THERE ARE SPORTS THAT
ARE INTERNATIONAL IN SCOPE AND
AS A RESULT THEY'RE FAMILIAR AND
SO PEOPLE FEEL CONNECTED TO
SOMETHING THAT IS SIMILAR WHEN
IT COMES TO FOREIGN AND NEW
SPACE.

Steve says IS THIS SOMETHING
YOU HAVE FIRSTHAND KNOWLEDGE OF
HAVING COME FROM EGYPT ONCE UPON A TIME?

The caption changes to "Medhat Mahdy. YMCA Ontario."

Medhat says I HAVE EXPERIENCED IT TWICE
IN MY LIFE, ONCE WHEN WE MOVED
TO PITTSBURGH WHEN MY FATHER WAS
STUDYING TO DO HIS Ph.D. AND
WE LIVED IN THE PROJECTS, I
SHOWED UP IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD,
DIDN'T SPEAK ENGLISH, AND I
REMEMBER VIVIDLY THE KIDS IN THE
NEIGHBOURHOOD, THEY COULDN'T
PRONOUNCE MY NAME SO THEY GAVE
ME A NICKNAME.

Steve says WHICH WAS?

Medhat says ONLY HERE.
NOT TO SHARE IT ANYWHERE ELSE.
I WAS MINNIE BECAUSE I WAS
LITTLE AND WEAK.
I DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT BASKETBALL.
I ALWAYS GOT PICKED LAST BUT I
GOT PICKED.
AND THEN THE OLDER KIDS WOULD
HELP ME LEARN THE GAME AND IN
LEARNING THE GAME I STARTED TO
FEEL PART OF THAT COMMUNITY, I
STARTED TO DEVELOP SOME SKILLS,
AND I LEARNED TO PLAY BASKETBALL
ON THE STREETS IN PITTSBURGH, I
LEARNED TO PLAY BASEBALL IN THE
PLAYGROUND, AND THE OTHER THING
IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD THAT WE
LIVED IN, IT GAVE ME AN
ALTERNATIVE TO BEING RECRUITED
BY A GANG, AND SO IT WAS A GREAT
WAY FOR ME TO ACTUALLY FIND A
BETTER PATH TO INVOLVEMENT.

Steve says YOU THINK IT COULD
HAVE GONE THE OTHER WAY.

Medhat says IT COULD HAVE
EASILY GONE THE OTHER WAY.

Steve says INTERESTING.
SUNIL, LET ME ASK YOU.
YOU'RE A HOCKEY GUY, SO I THINK
I KNOW YOUR ANSWER ON THIS, BUT
YOU NEVER KNOW, SO I'M GOING TO
ASK: DOES CANADA HAVE ONE
UNIFYING SPORTS IDENTITY?

Sunil says IN TERMS
OF ACTUAL SPORTS?

Steve says YEAH, 'CAUSE, OF
COURSE, YOUR TENDENCY AND MINE...

The caption changes to "Sunil Thakolkaren. Rogers Sportsnet."

Sunil says I WOULD
HAVE TO SAY HOCKEY, FOR SURE,
ABSOLUTELY.
YOU KNOW WHAT?
I THINK IT'S CHANGING EVERY DAY.
I THINK BASKETBALL IS STARTING
TO GROW IN THIS COUNTRY, SOCCER
OBVIOUSLY SUCH A GLOBAL SPORT,
AND WHAT THE JAYS DID LAST YEAR
WITH BASEBALL, IT CAPTURED AN
ENTIRE NATION, WE ONLY HAVE ONE
BASEBALL TEAM IN THIS COUNTRY.
FOR ME IT IS HOCKEY FOR SURE.
I THINK THERE ARE OTHER SPORTS
STARTING TO CATCH UP.

Steve says I'M TALKING ABOUT
THE N.H.L. RIGHT NOW, WHICH IN
YOUR PROFESSIONAL LIFE, IT'S
INCREASINGLY MULTICULTURAL THESE
DAYS.

Sunil says
ABSOLUTELY.

Steve says IT'S NOT THE KID
FROM NORTHERN SASKATCHEWAN?

Sunil says
ABSOLUTELY.
YOU ARE SEEING MORE ETHNIC
PLAYERS PLAYING IN THE GAME NOW,
ABSOLUTELY.

Steve says INCLUDING FOR THE
MAPLE LEAFS. THERE'S A MUSLIM
ON THE MAPLE LEAFS.

Sunil says WHO WOULD
HAVE THOUGHT THAT MAYBE 30 TO
40 YEARS AGO.

Steve says OKAY, HEATHER,
PARTICIPATING IN SPORTS,
CONTRIBUTING TO THE SOCIAL
INTEGRATION OF NEW CITIZENS.
HOW DO YOU SEE THAT SORT OF
PLAYING ITSELF OUT?

Heather says WELL, SOME
OF THE THINGS I ALREADY TALKED
ABOUT IN TERMS OF BEING ABLE TO
BUILD THOSE SOCIAL NETWORKS AND
LEARN THOSE THINGS ABOUT CANADA
THAT, YOU KNOW, YOU WOULDN'T BE
ABLE TO GET FROM SORT OF
OFFICIAL SOURCES.
I THINK SPORT ALSO, IN TERMS OF
CULTIVATING A SENSE OF BELONGING
TO CANADA, SPORTS HAS THIS WAY
OF GALVANIZING ENTIRE
POPULATIONS AND IT'S CONNECTED
TO NATURAL IDENTITY AND PRIDE IN
A WAY THAT A LOT OF OTHER
EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
AREN'T.

Steve says CAN I FOLLOW UP ON
THAT A BIT HERE?

Heather says SURE.

Steve says IF YOU CAME FROM
SOMALIA A YEAR AGO AND YOU'RE A
YEAR IN CANADA AND THEN THE BLUE
JAYS ARE DOING WHAT THEY DID
LAST YEAR.

Heather says RIGHT.

Steve says DOES THAT REALLY
MATTER TO YOU?

Heather says I DON'T KNOW
IF IT... YOU KNOW, I HEARD A
STORY FROM A WOMAN IN VANCOUVER
WHO HAD JUST BEEN THERE FOR 6
MONTHS AND THE VANCOUVER
OLYMPICS HAPPENED AND SHE... FOR
HER THAT WAS A REALLY SEMINAL
MOMENT IN REALLY FEELING LIKE
SHE CONNECTED WITH CANADA, AND
SHE HAD ONLY BEEN THERE FOR 6
MONTHS.
THEN SHE SUBSEQUENTLY HAS GOTTEN
VERY INVOLVED IN THE COMMUNITY,
IS A HUGE CANUCKS FAN, SHE IS
WORKING FOR AN ORGANIZATION TO
GIVE KIDS OPPORTUNITIES TO PLAY
SPORTS WHO OTHERWISE WOULDN'T
HAVE THEM, SO SHE HAS REALLY
JUMPED IN AND FEELS LIKE CANADA
IS HER HOME AND FOR HER THE
VANCOUVER OLYMPICS, BEING IN
VANCOUVER, THAT WAS THE MOMENT.
SO I THINK IT CAN.

Steve says DOES SHE UNDERSTAND
THAT BEING A CANUCKS FAN MEANS
SHE'S UP FOR A WHOLE LIFETIME OF
HURT?

Heather says SHE MIGHT
DISAGREE WITH YOU.

Steve says SHE CAN'T DISAGREE.
EVIDENCE IS EVIDENCE, I'M SORRY.

Heather says ARE YOU A
LEAFS FAN?

Steve says OKAY.
THE PRO-HOCKEY GUY AGREES WITH
ME ON THAT ONE.
CAN WE BRING THESE UP HERE?
THIS IS NEW CITIZENS AND THE
SPORTS THEY PLAY.
I FOUND THIS INTERESTING.
THIS IS AGAIN ACCORDING TO YOUR
STUDY, HEATHER.

A chart appears on screen, with the title "New citizens: The sports they play."

Steve reads from the slate and says
RUNNING 39 percent.
SWIMMING 32 percent.
BIKING JUST OVER A QUARTER.
SOCCER 18 percent.
BADMINTON 12.
TENNIS 11.
TABLE TENNIS 9.
BASKETBALL 8 percent AND SKIING ONLY
8 percent.
I THINK THAT'S A LITTLE
SURPRISING IN TERMS OF THESE ARE
THE SPORTS... WE'RE NOT TALKING
ABOUT WHAT THEY WATCH ON T.V.,
THIS IS WHAT THEY PLAY.
WHERE'S HOCKEY?
WHERE'S BASEBALL?
WHERE'S FOOTBALL?

Heather says THEY'RE AT
THE BOTTOM OF THE LIST.

Steve says WHY IS THAT?

The caption changes to "Getting in the game."

Heather says THEY'RE MUCH
MORE INTERESTED IN ACTIVE
LEASH-TYPE ACTIVITIES.
I THINK A LOT HAS TO DO WITH...
THESE ARE PEOPLE IN THEIR 30s
AND 40s, THEY'RE RAISING
FAMILIES, THEY'VE GOT BUSY
CAREERS, THEY DON'T NECESSARILY
HAVE TIME FOR A LOT OF ORGANIZED
SPORT, SO THEY TEND TO GRAVITATE
TOWARDS THESE TYPES OF
ACTIVITIES YOU CAN DO REALLY
EASILY.
IT CAN TAKE A LOT OF TIME,
COMMITMENT, AND COST TO GET INTO
ORGANIZED SPORT.
BUT HAVING SAID THAT, YOU KNOW,
EVEN THINGS LIKE SOCCER AND
BADMINTON ARE A LOT HIGHER THAN
HOCKEY.
THEY AREN'T INTERESTED IN...
THIS GROUP AT LEAST IS NOT
INTERESTED IN SPORTS THAT WE
WOULD CONSIDER SORT OF
TRADITIONALLY NORTH AMERICAN.

Steve says NOT ONLY THAT, IF
YOU LOOK AT THAT LIST HERE,
RUNNING, SWIMMING, BIKING.
OKAY.
SOCCER NOT.
BUT SKIING.
THESE ARE ALL INDIVIDUAL THINGS.
THERE'S NOTHING REALLY TEAM
ORIENTED ABOUT THAT.

Yuka says THEY'RE
EASIER TO PARTICIPATE IN... IT'S
EASIER TO INITIATE PARTICIPATION
WHEN IT'S AN INDIVIDUALIZED
SPORT. YOU'RE SURPRISED HOCKEY
ISN'T THERE.
IF YOU WERE TO ASK CANADIANS IN
GENERAL YOU WOULD FIND THE SAME
ACTIVITY PATTERNS.
PEOPLE ARE GRAVITATING TOWARD
ACTIVE LEISURE.
WE'RE NOT PARTICIPATING IN SPORT
AS MUCH AS WE USED TO SUNIL, YOU
SAID HOCKEY IS CANADIAN SPORTS
CULTURE.
WE'RE NOT PLAYING IN HOCKEY AS
MUCH AS WE USED TO EITHER SO
THERE IS THIS PERSUASIVE NOTION
THAT HOCKEY IS CANADIAN AND, YOU
KNOW, WE KNOW HOW TO ENGAGE IN
THAT CONVERSATION, YOU KNOW,
EVEN IF WE DON'T PLAY IT.

Steve says I THINK THAT'S THE
CASE, YUKA, BECAUSE WHEN THE
WINTER OLYMPICS HAPPEN, WE HAVE
TO WIN HOCKEY GOLD.

Yuka says THAT'S TRUE.
IF YOU ASKED A SOMALI REFUGEE
MIGHT NOT CARE ABOUT WHATEVER
TEAM, THE BLUE JAYS OR WHATEVER
TEAM IT IS.
BUT HE DOES KNOW THAT THE PEOPLE
AROUND HIM CARE, AND SO HE
KNOWS, HE'S NOW BECOME
ACCLIMATED, FAMILIAR WITH WHAT
THE NEIGHBOURHOOD KIDS ARE
TALKING ABOUT.

Steve says THAT'S THE WAY IN?

Yuka says ABSOLUTELY.

Heather says JUST KNOWING
A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HOCKEY OR
PRETENDING THAT YOU KNOW A
LITTLE BIT ABOUT HOCKEY GOES A
LONG WAY TO BE ABLE TO CONNECT
WITH PEOPLE.

Sunil says SPORTS
REALLY HAS NO BOUNDARIES, YOU
CAN BE WHITE COLLAR, BLUE
COLLAR, RICH, POOR, SPORTS
INVITES EVERYBODY IN.
PEOPLE WHO WOULDN'T TALK
PROBABLY WOULD BECAUSE OF
SPORTS.

Steve says IF YOU'RE PLAYING
ROAD HOCKEY, FOR EXAMPLE, YOU
DON'T CARE WHAT COLOUR THE GUY
IS ON YOUR TEAM AS LONG AS
THEY'RE GOOD AND THEY'RE GOING
TO HELP YOU WIN.

Medhat says THAT'S WHAT
WE SEE AT THE "Y."
THAT WAS THE PLAYING FIELD,
ESPECIALLY FOR NEW CANADIANS.
ONE OF THE THINGS WE'VE DONE AT
THE "Y" IS WE'VE ALSO ADAPTED
OUR PROGRAMS.
SO WE OPERATE, FOR EXAMPLE, A
SUMMER CAMP FOR CRICKET.
WE'RE ALSO TRYING TO LISTEN TO
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING AS THEY
COME IN BECAUSE THE DEFINITION
OF WHAT IS A CANADIAN SPORT IS
EVOLVING OVER TIME.

Steve says IS CRICKET A
CANADIAN SPORT?

Medhat says CRICKET IS A
SPORT THAT'S PLAYED BY A LOT OF
PEOPLE WHO ARE COMING TO
TORONTO, AND THEY WANT TO HAVE A
PLACE TO DO THAT.
THE OTHER THING THAT WE'VE SEEN
AT THE "Y" AS WELL IS THE
IMPORTANCE OF VOLUNTEERING IN
SPORTS.
THE IDEA OF FEELING LIKE A
CITIZEN IS A SENSE OF BELONGING,
AND CREATING THAT CONNECTION AND
SENSE OF BELONGING... THE REASON
INDIVIDUAL SPORTS ARE VERY
VALUED BY NEW CANADIANS IS THAT
THEY HELP YOU TO DEVELOP A SELF
EFFICACY THAT YOU NEED IN ORDER
TO EXERCISE YOUR VOICE AS A
CITIZEN.

Steve says WHAT DOES THAT MEAN,
SELF EFFICACY?

Medhat says THE
CONFIDENCE, THE SKILLS TO BE
ABLE TO KNOW THAT YOU CAN DO
OTHER THINGS BECAUSE YOU'VE DONE
CERTAIN THINGS.
WHEN NEW CANADIANS COME TO
CANADA, WE TRY AND PUT THEIR
KIDS INTO PROGRAMS.
AND WHEN KIDS LEARN TO SWIM,
THEY DEVELOP THIS LEVEL OF
CONFIDENCE THAT SAY, NOW THAT I
CAN LEARN TO SWIM I CAN TRY TO
DO THIS OR I CAN MAKE FRIENDS OR
I CAN VOLUNTEER.
SO ALL OF THAT CONTRIBUTES TO
THE EVOLUTION OF CITIZENSHIP.

Steve says HAVING SAID THAT,
THOUGH, ALL RIGHT, MAYBE PEOPLE
LIKE TO PLAY TENNIS OR WHAT WAS
THE OTHER THINGS, CRICKET AND
ALL OF THOSE, RUNNING, SWIMMING,
BIKING.
LET'S BRING THESE NUMBERS UP
HERE.
HOW ABOUT SPORTS THAT NEW
CITIZENS WATCH ON TELEVISION?

A new chart titled "New citizens: the sports they watch" appears.

Steve reads from the chart and says
80 percent SOCCER.
THERE'S YOUR HOCKEY.
ALMOST THREE-QUARTERS HOCKEY.
TWO-THIRDS WATCH BASKETBALL.
THAT'S THE RAPTORS, OF COURSE.
HALF OF THEM ARE WATCHING THE
C.F.L. OR THE N.F.L.
AND MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL COMES
IN WITH 42 percent.
THAT'S NEW CANADIANS.
THAT'S I WOULD SUSPECT PRETTY
REFLECTIVE AS THE POPULATION AS
A WHOLE, ISN'T IT?

The caption changes to "Sunil Thakolkaren, @sunnyboytv73"

Sunil says I THINK
SO.
YOU PROBABLY USE SCARBOROUGH AS
AN EXAMPLE.
IN THE '90s, SCARBOROUGH HAD
ABOUT 14,000 YOUTH PLAYING
HOCKEY.
AND THEN FAST FORWARD TO 2006
AND IT'S 2600.

Steve says 2600?

Sunil says 2600,
RIGHT?
SO THEY NO LONGER HAVE THEIR OWN
HOCKEY ASSOCIATION.
THEY'RE PART OF THE G.T.H.L.
NOW.

Steve says THAT'S BECAUSE THESE
KIDS WENT SOMEWHERE ELSE?

The caption changes to "Connect with us: TVO.org, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter; @theagenda"

Sunil says PARTLY
BECAUSE I THINK THE CHANGING
FACE OF THAT CITY, IT'S BECOME
MORE VISIBLE MINORITIES AND I
DON'T KNOW IF YOU'RE SOMEONE
FROM INDIA OR SOMALIA, IF YOU'RE
RELATING TO HOCKEY. RIGHT? SO,
AND I DON'T THINK THE COMMUNITY
ITSELF DID A GOOD JOB OF TRYING
TO GET THESE NEW CANADIANS TO
COME IN AND PLAY HOCKEY. I THINK
IT'S STILL A WORK IN PROGRESS.

Steve says WELL, TELL ME IF YOU
THINK THIS IS... I REMEMBER
ONCE, MANY YEARS AGO, ON THIS
PROGRAMME HAVING A GUY ON WHO
WAS A TEACHER IN TORONTO AND
WHO'S FROM THE CARIBBEAN ONCE
UPON A TIME AND WHO CAME UP
HERE AS A KID, TURNED ON THE TV,
SAW BOBBY ORR AND FELL IN LOVE
WITH HOCKEY. AND HE BECAME THE
GOALTENDING COACH FOR THE NEW
YORK ISLANDERS. AND HE HAD A PRO
CAREER IN EUROPE AS WELL. I MEAN
THIS GUY LIVED THE CANADIAN
DREAM, EVEN THOUGH I THINK HE
WAS FROM, I'LL PROBABLY GET THIS
WRONG, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO...
SOMETHING LIKE THAT. IS THAT NOT
THE TYPICAL CANADIAN IMMIGRANT
PATH ANYMORE?

Sunil says GEE, THAT
IS HARD TO EXPLAIN. FOR MY
FATHER, WHEN HE CAME HERE IN
'71 FROM INDIA, HE KNEW
IMMEDIATELY THAT PART OF
ASSIMILATING WAS TO BECOME A
HOCKEY FAN AND EMBRACE HOCKEY.
AND PASS IT ONTO ME. RIGHT? SO,
I THINK MAYBE SOME OF THE NEW
CANADIANS NOW THEY JUST... WHEN
YOU WATCH HOCKEY IT'S STILL
PREDOMINANTLY A WHITE SPORT. I
KNOW THERE ARE MINIORITIES WHO
ARE MAKING INROADS AND STUFF BUT
MAYBE THE NEW CANADIANS DON'T
RELATE TO HOCKEY AS MUCH AS THEY
DID 20 YEARS AGO.
MAYBE THAT'S BECAUSE THEY SEE
BASKETBALL PLAYERS THAT THEY
RELATE TO MORE OR BASEBALL
PLAYERS THAT THEY RELATE TO
MORE.

Steve says HEATHER, CAN YOU
HELP US WITH THAT?

Heather says WE ASKED
ABOUT DIVERSITY IN WATCHING
PROFESSIONAL SPORTS AND IT
WASN'T A HUGE ISSUE AMONGST THIS
GROUP, BUT FOR HOCKEY IT WAS
DEFINITELY MORE OF AN ISSUE THAN
THE OTHER SPORTS.
THERE MIGHT BE A LITTLE BIT
SOMETHING THERE.

Steve says WELL, THERE ARE
CLEARLY MORE PEOPLE OF COLOUR
WHO ARE PLAYING BASKETBALL AND
FOOTBALL. SO, WOULD THAT... I
DON'T KNOW IF THAT MEANS YOU'RE
MORE LIKELY TO BE INTERESTED IN
THOSE SPORTS BECAUSE SOME OF THE
PLAYERS MAY LOOK LIKE YOU.

Heather says IT COULD BE.
I'M NOT SURE I CAN MAKE THOSE
ARGUMENTS FROM THE RESEARCH THAT
WE DID. AND FROM THE RESEARCH
THAT WE DID, I WAS PRETTY
SURPRISED AT THE HIGHER...
71 percent OF PEOPLE WERE STILL
INTERESTED IN WATCHING HOCKEY
WHICH IS... I THOUGHT WAS A
PRETTY HIGH NUMBER AND I THINK
THAT HAS A LOT TO... IT'S BOUND
UP IN HOCKEY BEING PART OF
CANADIAN CULTURE AND WANTING TO
FEEL PART OF THAT SO THEY'RE
INTERESTED IN LEARNING THAT...

Sunil says COST
ALSO COMES INTO PLAY TOO.
IT'S TREMENDOUSLY EXPENSIVE TO
PLAY HOCKEY.
I KNOW, MY FATHER TOOK ME AND MY
BROTHER TO SKATING LESSONS AND I
WASN'T THE GREATEST SKATER, I'M
GOING TO ADMIT THAT RIGHT NOW.
I STOPPED.
MY BROTHER CONTINUED AND PLAYED
HOCKEY.
HE PLAYED FOR MAYBE TWO OR THREE
YEARS AND STOPPED BECAUSE WE
COULDN'T AFFORD IT.

Steve says YUKA, TALK TO US
ABOUT THAT.
TO PLAY BASKETBALL YOU NEED A
BASKETBALL AND A PLAY OF
SNEAKERS.
THAT'S IT.
FOR HOCKEY, WHO KNOWS?
SOME PARENTS ARE SPENDING
1,000, 2,000, 3,000 dollars FOR
EQUIPMENT FOR THEIR KIDS.
IS THAT A BIG BARRIER?

The caption changes to "Stuck on the sidelines."

Yuka says IT IS.
THERE ARE SOCIAL NORMS AROUND
HOCKEY THAT ARE UNFAMILIAR TO
PARENTS.
THERE'S A CERTAIN AGE WHERE
YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO START YOUR
KIDS IN PROGRAM.
LEARN TO SKATE PROGRAM STARTED
TWO, THREE YEARS OLD.
PARENTS AREN'T GOING TO KNOW
THAT IF THEIR KID SUDDENLY AT
THE AGE OF 9 SAYS I WANT TO PLAY
HOCKEY.
THEY'VE ALREADY MISSED THAT
BOAT.
AT THAT POINT THEY PROCEED TO
WHAT IS AVAILABLE, WHAT IS
ACCESSIBLE.
AND WHAT'S AROUND.
IT'S A SOCCER FIELD, A CRICKET
PITCH.

Steve says IT'S TOO LATE IN
SOME RESPECTS.
IF YOU DON'T GET THEM BY TWO,
THREE, FOUR, FIVE YEARS OLD...

Yuka says THAT SEEMS
TO BE THE NORM.

Steve says WAS THAT THE
SITUATION WITH YOU WHEN YOU
MOVED TO PITTSBURGH WHEN YOU
WERE A LITTLE KID, DID YOU LEARN
TO SKATE WHEN YOU WERE THERE?

Medhat says NEVER LEARNED
HOW TO SKATE.
I LEARNED BASKETBALL, I LEARNED
BASEBALL.
WHEN WE CAME TO CANADA, I DID
MARTIAL ARTS BECAUSE I DIDN'T
WANT TO BE BULLIED SO MARTIAL
ARTS PROVIDED ME WITH A SENSE OF
CONFIDENCE.
WHAT WE LOOK AT AS WELL IS WHAT
CHILDREN ARE DOING IN THEIR
EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT.
I WAS VISITING ONE OF OUR CHILD
CARE CENTRES DURING THE WORLD
CUP AND I WAS AMAZED THAT ON THE
WALL THERE WAS A FLAG FROM EVERY
COUNTRY IN THE WORLD CUP AND I
LEARNED THAT IN THAT CHILD CARE
CENTRE THERE'S A CHILD FROM
EVERY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD CUP.
SO YOU TALK ABOUT DIVERSITY.
AND THE CHILDREN DREW THEIR
FLAGS AND WHEN THE TEAMS WOULD
BE PLAYING EACH OTHER, THE
CHILDREN WOULD EXCHANGE IDEAS
AND STORIES AROUND THEIR
CULTURE, AND SO THAT KIND OF
ALSO A MOSAIC THAT IS CREATED
WITH SPORTS BOTH FROM A FAN
PERSPECTIVE BUT ALSO A
PARTICIPATION PERSPECTIVE, IS
REALLY WHO WE ARE AS A
PLURALISTIC NATION.

Steve says I WANT TO TEST THAT
WITH YOU, HEATHER.
THIS CITY IS AMAZING DURING A
WORLD CUP.
I'VE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE
IT.
BUT CHEERING FOR THE COUNTRY YOU
ONCE CAME FROM, HOW DOES THAT
MAKE YOU FEEL ACTUALLY MORE
CANADIAN?

The caption changes to "Heather Steel, @ICCICC"

Heather says WELL, ONE OF
THE THINGS THAT WE KNOW ABOUT
NEW CANADIANS IS THAT ONE OF THE
THINGS THEY REALLY VALUE ABOUT
CANADA IS DIVERSITY AND
MULTICULTURALISM AND THE FEELING
THAT YOU DON'T HAVE TO GIVE UP
WHO YOU WERE TO COME HERE AND
BECOME SOMETHING ELSE, THAT YOU
CAN KEEP THOSE TRADITIONS, ADOPT
NEW TRADITIONS, AND SO I THINK
ONE OF THE THINGS THAT THEY LIKE
IS BEING ABLE TO COME HERE,
CHEER FOR ARGENTINA DURING THE
WORLD CUP, BUT THEN WHEN THE
OLYMPICS HAPPEN, YOU'RE IN FRONT
OF THE TELEVISION WATCHING
CANADA WIN A GOLD MEDAL AND
FEELING JUST AS EXCITED.
SO I DON'T THINK IT'S AN
EITHER-OR SITUATION FOR THEM.

Steve says WOULD YOUR DAD HAVE
CHEERED FOR INDIA DURING THE
WORLD CUP?

Sunil says ABSOLUTELY.
I HAD THE PLEASURE OF PRODUCING
THE WORLD CUP MORNING SHOW FOR
CBC DURING THE LAST WORLD CUP
AND IT WAS UNBELIEVABLE TO SEE
HOW THE CITY AND THE COUNTRY
JUST UNITED, RIGHT?
IT'S NOT BECAUSE CANADA IS IN
THERE, IT'S BECAUSE THEY'RE ALL
CHEERING FOR THEIR INDIVIDUAL
NATIONS AND YOU CAN DO IT IN A
WAY THAT YOU DON'T FEEL GUILTY
ABOUT, RIGHT?
THE WORLD CUP IN THAT SENSE IS
FASCINATING.

Medhat says THAT'S THE
BEAUTY OF CANADA.
YOU CAN CHEER... I'D LIKE TO
CHEER FOR EGYPT IN THE WORLD CUP
BUT THEY NEVER MAKE IT.

[Laughter]

Medhat says YOU CAN CHEER
FOR EGYPT OR YOUR COUNTRY, BUT
YOU CAN ALSO BE CANADIAN, AND I
THINK THAT'S ONE OF THE
WONDERFUL THINGS WE HAVE IN THIS
COUNTRY IS, YOU CAN DO BOTH.

Steve says YUKA, THAT MAY BE
WHY IT WORKS FOR CANADA, IS THAT
CANADA REALLY IS NOT A WORLD
POWER WHEN IT COMES TO SOCCER
AND THEREFORE I GUESS WE DON'T
FEEL ANY GUILT CHEERING FOR THE
OLD COUNTRY.
DOES THAT MAKE SENSE?

Yuka says POSSIBLY.
BUT WE HAVE MULTIPLE
IDENTITIES... THEY CAN CO-EXIST.
WE'RE COMPLEX BEINGS.
WE DON'T ALWAYS NECESSARILY HAVE
TO JUST BE CANADIAN.
WE CAN BE ALL KINDS OF DIFFERENT
IDENTITIES AND IN DIFFERENT
CONTEXTS THOSE IDENTITIES ARE
GOING TO BE MORE EMPHASIZED OR
ENHANCED AND YOU SHIFT CONTEXT
AND IT'S A DIFFERENT IDENTITY
AGAIN.
THAT'S THE FLUIDITY OF IT.

Sunil says THAT'S
WHAT SEPARATES US FROM ANY OTHER
COUNTRY IN THE WORLD IS OUR
ABILITY TO WELCOME OTHER NATIONS
AND FEEL PROUD ABOUT IT, RIGHT?
THERE'S NOT A COUNTRY THAT DOES
THAT LIKE US.

The caption changes to "tvo.org/current-affairs"

Steve says HOW OLD WAS YOUR DAD
WHEN YOU MOVED HERE?

Sunil says HE WAS 34.
34 YEARS OLD.

Steve says WITH FAMILY YET?

Sunil says NO.
HE HAD COME OVER WITH MY MOM.

Steve says CAME OVER WITH YOUR
MOM.
ANY SIBLINGS?

Sunil says YOUNGER
BROTHER.

Steve says YOU'RE BOTH BORN HERE.

Sunil says BOTH
BORN HERE. SCARBOROUGH.

Steve says HOCKEY WAS OR WAS
NOT A... I MEAN, THIS SOUNDS
VERY... I WAS GOING TO SAY
NORMAN ROCKWELL, BUT THAT'S AN
AMERICAN EXAMPLE.
WHATEVER THE EQUIVALENT IN
CANADA.
AT MY HOME GROWING UP SITTING
AROUND THE T.V. WATCHING HOCKEY
NIGHT IN CANADA, IT WAS A THING.

Sunil says IT WAS
RELIGION.

Steve says YOU DID IT TOO.

Sunil says YEAH,
ABSOLUTELY. MY FATHER PASSED
AWAY, UNFORTUNATELY, TWO AND A
HALF YEARS AGO AND BEFORE HIS
FUNERAL, WE PUT UP A LEAFS
JERSEY JUST SO EVERYONE KNEW
THAT HE WAS A LEAFS FAN AND THAT
HOCKEY WAS A BIG PART OF HIS
LIFE.

Medhat says WE HAD A BIG
LEAFS FAN IN OUR FAMILY AS WELL.
I REMEMBER GOING TO HIGH SCHOOL
IN 1967 AND GOING TO A CHOIR
PRACTICE AND THE TEACHER
BRINGING A T.V. SO WE COULD
WATCH THE STANLEY CUP FINAL.
I WAS JUST NEW IN THE COUNTRY
AND THAT WAS MY ENTRY.

Sunil says SO THAT'S
WHAT IT'S LIKE WHEN THE LEAFS
WIN THE CUP.

(LAUGHTER)

Steve says YOU JUST HAVE TO BE
A CERTAIN AGE TO REMEMBER...

Medhat says I TOOK THAT
FOR GRANTED. I THOUGHT IT WAS
GOING TO HAPPEN OVER AND OVER.

Steve says IT HAPPENED FOUR TIMES
IN THE '60s AND THEN NOTHING FOR
FIFTY YEARS. WELL THEN, I'D BE
VERY INTERESTED IN YOUR OPINIONS
ABOUT A CLIP I'M GOING TO SHOW
YOU NOW.
I HAVE A FEELING THIS IS NOT HOW
YOUR FATHER EXPERIENCED WATCHING
HOCKEY ON CBC.
BUT IT'S HOW A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE
EXPERIENCING WATCHING HOCKEY
THESE DAYS.
ROLL TAPE.

A clip shows a hockey game in which one of the team scores a winning point. A man commentating on the game starts yelling excitedly in another language. Clips show fans going wild.

The clip ends.

Steve says I'M NOT SURE BUT I
THINK IT WAS NICK BONINO WHO
GOT THE WINNING GOAL.
THAT'S HOCKEY NIGHT IN PUNJAB,
SO TO SPEAK.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?

The caption changes to "The good ol' hockey game."

Sunil says I THINK
IT'S ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC.
I KNOW A LOT OF THOSE GUYS WHO
WORK FOR HOCKEY NIGHT IN PUNJAB.
THEY'RE FANTASTIC GUYS.
IT'S GREAT THEY HAVE THIS
NOTORIETY BASED ON THAT CALL,
RIGHT?

Steve says WHAT'S THE IMPACT?

Sunil says I IMPACT
IS I THINK PEOPLE WHO NORMALLY
PROBABLY WOULDN'T WATCH HOCKEY
OR GIVES A SECOND THOUGHT TO
HOCKEY PROBABLY NOW LOOKED AT IT
AND GO, OH, THIS IS INTERESTING.
A PUNJABI PERSON CALLING HOCKEY.
THAT'S FASCINATING.

Steve says DOES THAT GET HOCKEY
INTO COMMUNITIES THAT MIGHT NOT
NECESSARILY OTHERWISE BE IN?

Sunil says I THINK
SO FOR SURE.

Heather says I WOULD
AGREE WITH THAT.
I THINK LANGUAGE CAN BE A BIG
BARRIER.
SO ANYTHING TO BRIDGE THAT IS A
GOOD THING.
AND SEEING YOURSELF REFLECTED I
THINK IN WHAT YOU'RE SEEING, SO
IF YOU'RE NOT SEEING IT
REFLECTED ON THE ICE, THEN AT
LEAST SEEING IT REFLECTED IN THE
COMMENTARY.
I HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH IT.
I THINK IT WAS A GREAT
INITIATIVE.

Steve says WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Medhat says I LOVED IT.
I THINK IT WAS REALLY SOCCER
ANNOUNCING APPLIED TO HOCKEY.

Steve says THAT'S RIGHT.

Medhat says WHEN THEY
WERE DOING THE CHEERING, I WAS
THINKING OF SOCCER GAMES AND HOW
THEY ANNOUNCE THE GOALS.
I THINK IT'S FANTASTIC AND I
THINK IT'S... TO YOUR POINT
AROUND MULTIPLE IDENTITIES AND
WE CAN BE BOTH ENDS AND NOT
EITHER-OR.

Steve says DO WE HAVE THIS KIND
OF THING FOR THE RAPTORS?
I DON'T KNOW.
IS THERE A PUNJABI PLAY BY PLAY?

Sunil says OFF THE
TOP OF MY HEAD, I CAN'T THINK OF
ONE RIGHT NOW.

Steve says GIVEN YOU'RE THE
RAPTORS' NUMBER ONE FAN, IF IT
HASN'T HAPPENED, MAYBE IT WILL
BE IN THE WORKS.

Sunil says MAYBE IT
WILL BE IN THE WORKS NOW.

Steve says DO THE RAPTORS
REPRESENT A POTENTIAL OPENING
FOR NEW CANADIANS AND
BASKETBALL?

Yuka says I WANT TO BE
MINDFUL OF THE FACT THAT THERE
IS A VERY INTENTIONAL MARKETING
OF BASKETBALL, TO ENSURE THAT IT
IS SEEN AS DIVERSE AND
ACCESSIBLE AND A GLOBAL SPORT.
TO SEPARATE IT FROM HOCKEY.
AND SO WE'RE CELEBRATING HOW
DIVERSE IT IS AND HOW MAYBE THE
RAPTORS DO HAVE THIS DIVERSE
TYPE OF SPORTS COMMENTARY.
TRUE, THAT MIGHT ATTRACT MORE
SPECTATORS FROM COMMUNITIES THAT
NORMALLY DON'T WATCH IT, BUT
WHETHER THAT LEADS TO
PARTICIPATION IS A DIFFERENT
STORY AND WHETHER OR NOT THEY
WOULD BE WELCOMED IS ALSO A
DIFFERENT STORY.
BELONGING IS A TWO-WAY STREET,
YOU KNOW?
YES, THE PUNJABI COMMUNITY MIGHT
FEEL LIKE THEY'RE NOW CONNECTED
TO HOCKEY.
BUT LET'S REMEMBER THAT THERE
WAS MINOR, BUT STILL NEGATIVE
REACTION TO SEEING, YOU KNOW,
TWO BROWN MEN COMMENTATING ON
HOCKEY AND TWO BROWN MEN BEING
THE ONES WHO WERE BEHIND THE
SPORTS DESK.

Steve says DID THAT HAPPEN?

Yuka says IT DID.
IT ABSOLUTELY DID.
THERE WAS SUPPORT, GRANTED, BUT
THE... TWITTER WENT CRAZY SAYING
WHY DO WE HAVE THESE TERRORISTS
COMMENTING ON HOCKEY, ET CETERA.

Steve says I REMEMBER WHEN THIS
HAPPENED AND MY RECOLLECTION WAS
THAT IT WAS A FEW OBNOXIOUS
IDIOTS WHO MADE THOSE COMMENTS,
IT CERTAINLY WASN'T THE MAJORITY
OF PEOPLE.

The caption changes to "A level playing field."

Yuka says IT WAS.
BUT TO FRAME IT AS THEY'RE
STUPID AND OBNOXIOUS IS
DANGEROUS.
THERE IS STILL THIS IDEA THAT
HOCKEY IS THE BEST WHITENESS.
TO HAVE THESE NEW BODIES COMING
IN AND SAYING, NO, THIS IS GOING
TO BE OUR SPORT AND WE'RE GOING
TO CHANGE IT AND WE'RE GOING TO
START REFERRING TO THE PUCK AS A
DIFFERENT WORD BECAUSE THIS IS
WHAT WE'RE FAMILIAR WITH, THOSE
ARE CHANGING SOCIAL NORMS.
THEY'RE QUESTIONING THINGS THAT
HAVE GONE UNQUESTIONED FOR
DECADES, AND SO WHETHER OR NOT
WE'RE COMFORTABLE WITH THAT IS
WHAT I THINK WE NEED TO CONSIDER
AS WELL.
BELONGING IS NOT JUST WHETHER
THE INDIVIDUAL NEWCOMERS FEEL
WELCOME BUT WHETHER OR NOT WE'RE
WILLING AS THE RECEIVING SOCIETY
TO CHANGE.

The caption changes to "Producer: Meredith Martin, @MeredithMartin; Student Intern: Brittany Spencer."

Steve says AS FAR AS I CAN
TELL, THE ONLY INAPPROPRIATE
INNOVATION THAT'S EVER HAPPENED
ON HOCKEY WAS WHEN FOX PUT THE
BLUE FLASH ON THE PUCK.
EVERYTHING ELSE I'M COOL WITH.
ANYWAY, GUYS, THANKS FOR YOUR
PARTICIPATION ON THIS TONIGHT.
MUCH APPRECIATED.

Watch: Sports and Identity