So why aren’t there any trans men in the NHL?
Imagine the Academy Awards coming out in favour of returning The Dreamers to their home country. Or the Tonys advocating a repeal of gay marriage. That’s the equivalent of the NHL’s Twitter site tweeting, “Trans women are women. Trans men are men. Nonbinary identity is real.”
For a league that celebrated its inner Don Cherry for over a century, this sudden assertion that traditional biological gender is deader than Eddie Shore has to qualify as a game-changer.
The tweet came as the league announced its support for something called the Team Trans Draft Tournament in Middleton, Wisconsin. The tournament’s 80 participants identified as either transgender or nonbinary, according to the NHL. Whatever. Do your thing.
But when social media asked whether this meant the league was okay with men playing in women’s leagues, some progressive puckster in the NHL head office fired off the tempestuous “Trans women are women. Trans men are men. Nonbinary identity is real.”
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Cue the incredulous reaction. Who were they trying to impress? Just one example from American conservative Ben Shapiro: “If this is true, why aren’t there any trans men in the NHL? They’re real men, after all. Must be terrible and vicious discrimination.” Claiming racism and sexism and transphobia, the NHL briskly shut down its comments section on social media lest the suddenly disinherited Tim Hortons hockey culture submit its disgust.
There were upsides. Watching cardigan-clad commissioner Gary Bettman squirm in his new role as commissioner of all genders is worth the price of admission. Seeing the enlightened hockey media at Sportsnet, CBC, TSN, and ESPN lay down cover for Comrade Gary was likewise amusing.
But the NHL’s sudden conversion to trans orthodoxy is also highly instructive of how deep the tentacles of this ideology have attached themselves in ordinary culture. The NHL? Men-as-women playing against biological women? Until this radical chic agitprop thrust itself into the fore the last few years, this was unthinkable for the NHL or its fans. Laughable. Fantastical.
But now you have a league HQ embedded in the heart of Manhattan – where the global media, business and arts community have already succumbed to the intimidation of this cultural blackmail. The NHL’s sponsors, suppliers, broadcast partners and just plain neighbours have also taken the Trans Kool-Aid. At some point, the NHL’s surrender must have seemed inevitable – even for a league that asks its employees to never back down to bullies.
Seeing Bettman – who has epitomized stubborn resistance in his denial of the science of CTE brain trauma – crumble before the forces of approved speech is instructive to those who think this leaky scow can still be turned around quickly. Or that the forces of objective media might raise a whimper about being steamrolled by the rabid internet wolf packs.
As British author and political commentator Douglas Murray noted sadly in Toronto of the Canadian media’s performance during the February Convoy. “The Canadian media acted as the amen chorus of the Canadian government,” he said during last week’s Munk Debate on trust in media. After numerous examples of this capitulation, he added: “Why is this so rancid? Because in this country … your mainstream media is funded by the government.”
His debate partner, American journalist Matt Taibbi, was no less scathing. “The press, culturally, has been transformed from an institution that reflexively identified with the broad audience to one whose first instinct is to protect the people they’re meant to cover.”
As if to prove their point, new Twitter owner Elon Musk allowed Taibbi to release emails and documents that show the active Twitter suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop scandal in the weeks before the 2020 presidential election. Prodded to censor by presidential candidate Joe Biden’s followers, Twitter and its sister monopolies at Facebook and the corporate American media banned any public discussion of how Biden’s son and his brother had sold the “Big Guy’s” position in government to China, Ukraine and other malign actors for years.
Why is this important? As many as 30 per cent of those hearing about the Biden’s shakedown operation for the first time said they’d have changed their vote in the razor-thin election. The implications are odious and far-reaching.
So what did corporate media do Friday upon release of the communications showing corrupt collusion between media and politicians? It reprised its October 2020 performance and buried the story of its disgrace. A few of the most corrupt tried ad hominems on Taibbi and Musk. But otherwise, it was a re-run of the mute media in which smug corporate vigilantes suppressed vital news. That includes Canadian media.
Example: the Carleton Journalism School hosted a presentation on the Canadian media titled “Journalists and Online Hate,” the idea being that brave impartial journalists are now being hunted down for their trailblazing education of the masses. The monochrome panel included federal minister Marco Mendicino, J- School director Allan Thompson, Global TV’s Rachel Gilmore, CBC President Catherine Tait, and black columnist Erica Ifill, (or as Jonathan Kay saw it: “(1) laughingstock cab minister (2) self-loathing J-school dean (3) tiktokker (4) leader of bloated state network no one watches, & (5) woman who says she’s glad the queen’s dead’).
After cravenly thanking native groups for the use of their hereditary land, Thompson – a “fifth-generation settler” – told the audience that media must dismantle “white supremacist mindsets”. It went downhill from there, with federal civil servant Tait lashing out at the people who pay her $460 K salary as being in need of reconstruction.
Given her chance, Ifill said when she seeks an expert opinion, she does not talk to white men because her job is to challenge power. She then talked about CBC’s Queen coverage and noted she was glad the Queen died. She also says the media treats black women very poorly. (Someone should tell this Virtue Trooper that the Queen’s ancestors were the ones who effectively ended the slave trade in the Western World in the early 19th century. But that might upset her narrative. And upsetting narratives is racist.)
The conclusion of the debate? Sticks and stones may hurt journalists’ bones but names are first-degree murder. So save a prayer for poor Mr. Bettman. He held out longer than some before accepting the white guilt hemlock. Knowing his desire to be the longest-serving commissioner in history, he probably wishes he’d quit his job three seasons ago because he’ll never wash away the cisgender privilege now.
Bruce Dowbiggin is the editor of Not The Public Broadcaster. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada’s top television sports broadcaster, he’s a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. Inexact Science: The Six Most Compelling Draft Years In NHL History, his new book with his son Evan, was voted the eighth best professional hockey book by bookauthority.org. His 2004 book Money Players was voted seventh best.
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