Skating on Thin Ice

Professional Hockey, Rape Culture, and Violence against Women

Table of contents


Heather Mallick

1. More Than a Few Bad Men
2. In Their Own Words: Giving Voice to the Survivors of Professional Hockey Violence and Sexism
3. With a Little Help from Their Friends: Male Peer Support and Violence against Women
4. Other Key Elements of a Rape-Supportive Culture in Professional Hockey
5. The Puck Drops Here: Prevention and Control Strategies

Jack Todd

About the Authors


Skating on Thin Ice exposes the culture of toxic masculinity in professional hockey and suggests how sport and society can change the narrative on sexual assault and violence.

Why is it that professional sports, and notably hockey, remain a bastion for rape culture and violence against women? What are the conditions that allow a culture of toxic masculinity to persist despite awakenings elsewhere in society? What is the path forward, and how do we make officials, coaches, and athletes accountable?

Drawing on decades of award-winning sociological research and sports journalism, Walter S. DeKeseredy, Martin D. Schwartz, and veteran sportswriter Stu Cowan find answers to these questions in Skating on Thin Ice.

The book examines the abusive, misogynistic, racist, and homophobic behaviors found in professional hockey and explains the larger societal forces that perpetuate and legitimate these harms. Confirming a recent federal government inquiry into Hockey Canada’s handling of sexual assault allegations, the book reveals that young men enter the NHL and other revenue-generating hockey leagues already trained and primed to treat women as objects – and often to commit violent acts against them. Rooted in the authors’ work in the sports world as well as their work with activists and governments, Skating on Thin Ice doesn’t just highlight the problem of hockey and rape culture, it also provides collaborative solutions for fixing it.