The hockey players at Christie Pits Park refuse to be swayed by misogyny.
This past Monday, several female-identifying hockey lovers headed to the Sid Smith artificial ice rink for what they thought would be a fun game of shinny.
Instead, they said they ran into some men who reportedly refused to come off the ice and allegedly harassed them during the bright hours dedicated to women, which runs from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Later that night, player Liz Dewdney sent a letter to the city and local county. Mike Layton describing what happened, which she called “as bad as (she) has ever experienced”.
Dewdney, who was the first woman on the ice that night, said she asked city-employed rink guards to remove the male skaters as it was time for the women to shine.
Very grateful, he said; however, some stayed and doled out “a bit of rejection” when told to leave.
In the end, they left the ice, but a teenager reportedly returned and refused to go until Dewdney informed the rink guard. A handful of others turned belligerent, he charged.
“Once we started playing, four or five of the stragglers stayed behind and hit the glass, yelled obscenities, and generally just behaved intimidatingly during the game,” Dewdney said.
He went on to say that he doesn’t necessarily blame the two teens accused of guarding the runway Monday night, as they might have a hard time “standing up to their peers.”
Instead, she wants “someone with some authority to help clear the ice in preparation for the women’s schedule” this Monday and beyond.
“It is unreasonable to expect two teenagers to do so and it is unfair to subject women to the harassment we face tonight,” said Dewdney, who has contacted the parks department and Layton.
“This is going to be a popular night for shinny women, so the sooner we get this under control the better.”
His partner Deirdre Norman was also there last Monday and witnessed the gender abuse.
She has organized the “Rally Against Misogyny” which is scheduled to begin at 6:15 pm tonight off the track.
“What happened took our joy away. It also took away our security. We want to play like everyone else, “he said, adding that the goal is for female hockey players to” come together in a show of strength and community. “
Norman said misogyny is non-negotiable, especially on city properties.
“We were granted this schedule and we hope it is free from harassment. It is not our job to educate people, ”he said.
Layton, who lives near the park, said the actions of a “bunch of misogynistic idiots” are unacceptable.
“We cannot tolerate things like this,” he said, adding that it is a matter of “human decency” not to behave in such an “inappropriate” manner.
The University-Rosedale representative, who plans to attend tonight’s rally, assured that the situation will be addressed immediately.
In a statement, Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation said it is aware of this incident and that “staff are working with these players to ensure a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment at this location and tracks throughout the city.”
Immediate actions to be taken include scheduling additional staff at Sid Smith and coordinating ice keeping time “to provide a buffer for the transition to women’s bright hours.”
The parks department also stressed that “harassment of any kind is not tolerated or approved in recreational facilities in the City of Toronto, including outdoor ice rinks” and anyone who does not comply can be suspended from these sites. .
Toronto’s outdoor skating season began on November 27. Women’s Bright Hours are available at 23 of the city’s more than 50 outdoor ice rinks.
Monday night’s brilliant session was the first in nearly two years at the Sid Smith court, as team sports were banned by the province last winter due to the pandemic.