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Is There a Need for a Violence Prevention Programme in Ice Hockey?
Örebro University, School of Health Sciences. (Research in Sport and Physical Activity)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4985-3595
2019 (English)In: Book of Abstracts / [ed] Breitbarth, Tim, Bodet, Guillaume, Fernández Luna, Álvaro, Burillo Naranjo, Pablo & Bielons, Gerardo, Seville: EASM , 2019, Vol. 1, p. 776-777Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Aim and Research Questions: Against a background of identified masculinity ideals and how they relate to norms of violence in Swedish ice hockey, the overall purpose of this paper is to identify preventive suggestions that can challenge violence-supportive masculinity ideals and norms. The specific research aim is to identify and discuss preventive measures from an individual (coach or player) perspective (i.e. a micro level), club or community perspective (a meso level) and a structural (e.g. rules) perspective (a macro level). The two research questions are: Which ideals have been appreciated in Swedish male ice hockey and what kinds of attitudes to violence in general can be identified? What, more specifically, can be considered as necessary to change in Swedish ice hockey in order to prevent violence and violent behaviour?

Theoretical Background and Literature Review: By combining research on sport, masculinities (or gender), violence/aggression and prevention, a theoretical discussion is conducted about the link between masculinity and aggressiveness/violence in sport and how this affects and is associated with more general expressions of men’s violence in society and the adequacy of prevention. The point of departure is a ‘broad’ understanding of violence that includes physical, psychological, verbal and other non-physical aspects (Connell, 2005; Flood, 2019). Ice hockey has a long history of violence (Lorenz, 2016)and researchers have examined this culture from several perspectives. Rockerbie (2015)estimates the effect of ice hockey fights on attendance in the NHL and finds that although fighting perhaps was more popular in the early years of the NHL, there is no absolute association between average attendance and fights per game. Other research has shown that male team sports can nurture aggressive and sexist attitudes and behaviour (Messner and Sabo, 1994; Pappas, 2012). Flood’s (2019) work focuses on men and boys and violence prevention and helps us to understand such attitudes and behaviors as an initial step that could, if it escalates, result in men’s violence against women. Although there are strong arguments for male dominated team sports’ objectification of women and femininity and the social problems associated with this, there is a risk of simplification by only attributing such attitudes to participation in ice hockey or a team sport. Alcohol consumption, socialization in a sport, society at large and other factors also need to be taken into account.

Research Design, Methodology and Data Analysis: Part of a larger project on masculinity ideals and violence norms in Swedish ice hockey from 1965 up until today, the presentation is primarily based on interviews with five Swedish ice hockey coaches. (The project also gathers data from interviews with players, observations from ice hockey games, excerpts from media, examination of the magazine Hockey and (auto)biographies). Taken together, all the coaches had experiences of playing ice hockey themselves from amateur to professional level in Sweden and abroad. The analytical process can be summarized in three steps. Firstly, a thematic analysis was carried out in which different ‘meaning units’ were transformed into ‘condensed meaning units’ and finally collected to ‘codes’. Secondly, the codes or ideals were placed within the theoretical frame and interpreted in terms of an eventual hegemonic, masculine and/or violence-supportive ideal. Lastly, given that some meaning units include norms related to aggression and violence, the discussion section is constructed around preventative suggestions emanating from the findings.

Results/Findings and Discussion: The main result shows that some of the ice hockey milieu’s positive effects (e.g. community, loyalty, the sense of comfort) to some extent also form the basis as risk factors in developing violent behaviour, (e.g. sexist and derogative attitudes/language, exaggerated hard playing style, collective norms that trigger fights and alcohol consumption). One coach gave an example of the coaches of a junior team he played with (in the early 1990s) who drank alcohol and watched pornographic films in the bus home from away matches. The informant reflected that such behaviour affected the players’ values, their talk about and views of women and their attitudes towards alcohol. Another aspect, highlighted by another informant, is that violence (in a wide sense) can become part of the tactics in certain situations during a game, especially if players are encouraged to ‘provoke and get provoked!’ ie the same qualities that might make someone a successful player could also foster them in violent-supportive attitudes.

Conclusion, Contribution and Implication: The paper shows how ice hockey, as a male team sport, can nurture and even encourage sexist and violent attitudes but the sport also has a huge preventative potential. The conclusion that can be drawn is that a successful, violence prevention programme in ice hockey (and perhaps also other male dominated team sports) should pay specific attention to such individual behaviour with the aim of minimizing the risk of players developing negative attitudes that in the end nurture patriarchy and enhance the inequalities between men and women.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Seville: EASM , 2019. Vol. 1, p. 776-777
National Category
Health Sciences
Research subject
Sports Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-77704ISBN: 978-84-09-14068-8 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-77704DiVA, id: diva2:1367418
Conference
The 27th European Sport Management Conference: Connecting Sport Practice & Science, Seville, Spain, 3-6 September, 2091
Projects
Ishockey i förändring
Funder
Swedish National Centre for Research in SportsAvailable from: 2019-11-04 Created: 2019-11-04 Last updated: 2019-12-11Bibliographically approved

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Alsarve, Daniel

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