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Crossing the Line: Violence and Sexual Assault in Canada's National Sport

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The world of junior and professional hockey will never be the same since Sheldon Kennedy of the Boston Bruins revealed that, while a junior player with the Swift Current Broncos, he was molested more than 300 times by his coach, Graham James. This revelation, and James's subsequent conviction, has thrown a spotlight on the other "Hockey Night in Canada," where abuse of and The world of junior and professional hockey will never be the same since Sheldon Kennedy of the Boston Bruins revealed that, while a junior player with the Swift Current Broncos, he was molested more than 300 times by his coach, Graham James. This revelation, and James's subsequent conviction, has thrown a spotlight on the other "Hockey Night in Canada," where abuse of and by young players is appallingly common. In Crossing the Line, Laura Robinson takes an unflinching look at abuse in junior hockey, the breeding ground for the NHL. She explains how this great sport has gone so bad, and challenges those who are a part of the world of hockey to rethink the game and consider ways to fix it. The abuse takes many forms. It may be overtly sexual. It may be an overwhelming pressure on players—removed from the support of their families and often living far from home—to perform and to fit in. It often takes the form of degrading hazing rituals, many of which have violent sexual overtones, designed to take the players beyond their inhibitions and the normal limits of their aggression. Robinson shows how the institutionalized abuse in hockey turns the players themselves into abusers. Yet when accusations are levelled against the players, team managers and owners rally around to protect them, applying pressure to have the charges dropped or the accuser discredited. Junior hockey and the NHL are arenas for the display of what we consider to be ideal manhood. In Crossing the Line, Laura Robinson shows how damaging it can be when the participants in this often violent spectacle are unleashed on the real world.


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The world of junior and professional hockey will never be the same since Sheldon Kennedy of the Boston Bruins revealed that, while a junior player with the Swift Current Broncos, he was molested more than 300 times by his coach, Graham James. This revelation, and James's subsequent conviction, has thrown a spotlight on the other "Hockey Night in Canada," where abuse of and The world of junior and professional hockey will never be the same since Sheldon Kennedy of the Boston Bruins revealed that, while a junior player with the Swift Current Broncos, he was molested more than 300 times by his coach, Graham James. This revelation, and James's subsequent conviction, has thrown a spotlight on the other "Hockey Night in Canada," where abuse of and by young players is appallingly common. In Crossing the Line, Laura Robinson takes an unflinching look at abuse in junior hockey, the breeding ground for the NHL. She explains how this great sport has gone so bad, and challenges those who are a part of the world of hockey to rethink the game and consider ways to fix it. The abuse takes many forms. It may be overtly sexual. It may be an overwhelming pressure on players—removed from the support of their families and often living far from home—to perform and to fit in. It often takes the form of degrading hazing rituals, many of which have violent sexual overtones, designed to take the players beyond their inhibitions and the normal limits of their aggression. Robinson shows how the institutionalized abuse in hockey turns the players themselves into abusers. Yet when accusations are levelled against the players, team managers and owners rally around to protect them, applying pressure to have the charges dropped or the accuser discredited. Junior hockey and the NHL are arenas for the display of what we consider to be ideal manhood. In Crossing the Line, Laura Robinson shows how damaging it can be when the participants in this often violent spectacle are unleashed on the real world.

30 review for Crossing the Line: Violence and Sexual Assault in Canada's National Sport

  1. 5 out of 5

    Meaghan

    Very interesting, if also disturbing. I don't feel this book was well-written -- it sometimes repeated information on consecutive pages, giving the impression that it wasn't proofread, and at time had the tone of an extended rant -- but it appears to be well-researched and is certainly thought-provoking. Very interesting, if also disturbing. I don't feel this book was well-written -- it sometimes repeated information on consecutive pages, giving the impression that it wasn't proofread, and at time had the tone of an extended rant -- but it appears to be well-researched and is certainly thought-provoking.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

    Disturbing book. Would be interested to read an updated version, since this came out in the late 1990s. I'd hope there's more consciousness around these issues by now. Disturbing book. Would be interested to read an updated version, since this came out in the late 1990s. I'd hope there's more consciousness around these issues by now.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jashvina Shah

    This information is still relevant since not much has changed in the past 20 years. It’s a must read for any sports fan. My big concern was how LGBTQ people were talking about.

  4. 4 out of 5

    audrey

    Fascinating but flawed look at sexual assault, primarily, in hockey (violence got a little bit of a short shrift). Very repetitive and could have covered a lot more information, but the information it did cover was certainly disturbing and eye-opening.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lori

  6. 5 out of 5

    Greg Wythe

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jax Gullible

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

  9. 4 out of 5

    Guillaume

  10. 4 out of 5

    Stacey

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jack Fraser

  12. 5 out of 5

    Pattie Anderson

  13. 5 out of 5

    Risa

  14. 5 out of 5

    Vicky Grygar

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tara

  16. 5 out of 5

    Elise

  17. 4 out of 5

    Katie

  18. 5 out of 5

    Heather Martin-boos

  19. 5 out of 5

    John

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jay Blumenthal

  21. 5 out of 5

    Erin Mcguire

  22. 4 out of 5

    Leigh-Ann Fingland

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nelson

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jen

  25. 4 out of 5

    Chicazul

  26. 4 out of 5

    Casey

  27. 5 out of 5

    Emily

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

  29. 4 out of 5

    Carly

  30. 5 out of 5

    Alissa

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