Canada can be defined by stereotypical entities like maple syrup, plaid shirts, Céline Dion, and hockey. All can be enjoyed by anyone who enters our home and native land. Hockey, however, is commonly thought to be played by white Canadians.
The Scarborough Muslim community is breaking away from the stereotype. The Madina Hockey League (MHL) is a ball hockey league for Muslims, embracing traditional Canadian culture.
In the future, it would be incredible if there were more culture involved with hockey.
It may be a white-dominated sport, but leagues like the MHL give others a chance to be part of the Canadian game while creating tight-knit communities. Second- and third-generation Canadians are influenced by the powerful presence of hockey that surrounds their lives, and naturally fall in love with the game.
One NHL player many Muslim youth look up to is Nazem Kadri – a young forward for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and a Muslim himself. As a London native, he broke away from the stereotypes and worked to be someone Muslim youth can look up to. Another Muslim NHL player is Justin Abdelkader, a forward for the Detroit Red Wings. Players like Kadri and Abdelkader provide a positive outlook for the hockey community worldwide, not to mention the Muslim youth who strive to be like them.
There are other hockey leagues in Canada that involve a variety of cultures, such as Chinese and Korean hockey leagues. Yet, no matter the colour of your skin or the religion you practise, once you put on your gloves and strap on your helmet, the game becomes all that matters.