About the 2018 Conference

The 2018 conference continued the biennial series of scholarly conferences on hockey, which began at Saint Mary’s University (Halifax, NS, Canada) in 2001, making it the ninth one. This most recent iteration of the conference was presented by Bears and Pandas Athletics at the University of Alberta (Edmonton, AB, Canada) from July 5-7. It was titled “The Multiplicity of Hockey: Delivering new understandings of the game” and sought to challenge the homogeneity that often characterizes hockey. It did so by featuring guest speakers from a wide range of backgrounds and identities, including but not limited to members of communities such as: professional women’s hockey; Hockey Night in Canada Punjabi; Paralympic sledge hockey; LGBTQ2I+ hockey athletes; and indigenous sport participation scholars. New to the Conference this year was a book session during which authors could present their recent or upcoming books to the group. This was also the year that the conference adopted an official hashtag, #hockeyconf2018, and continued to be active on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Who Were Our Keynote Speakers?

  • Karl Subban, Keynote
    Karl is a former school principal in one of Toronto’s toughest neighbourhoods, and the father of five children, including three NHL players. He’s dedicated his life to helping others reach their potential—to be better at their careers, and as people. In his keynote speech at the Conference’s closing brunch, he discussed teamwork, leadership, and parenting while offering a fresh take on what it means to succeed.
  • Jennifer Botterill, Guest
    Jennifer played hockey at Harvard University and was a member of the Canadian Women’s Hockey Team from 1997-2011. She has attended 4 Olympic Games as an athlete and now works in television with CBC and TSN. At the Conference, she spoke about the path travelled by women’s professional hockey. Specifically, she highlighted the need to focus on how hockey players and fans must join forces to promote women’s hockey.
  • Harnarayan Singh, Guest
    Harnarayan is a play-by-play commentator for Hockey Night in Canada Punjabi and Sportsnet. He is a graduate of Mount Royal University and sits on the board of HEROS Hockey, a charity that uses hockey to teach and empower at-risk youth in Canada. His lively and engaging talk at the Conference was about his unique experiences growing up as a Canadian hockey fan of South Asian descent and accomplishing his life-long dream of being a broadcaster.
  • Ian Herbers and Stan Marple, Guests
    At the time of the Conference, Coach Herbers had just completed a stint as Assistant Coach of the Edmonton Oilers of the National Hockey League (NHL) and was returning to the University of Alberta’s Golden Bears hockey team as Head Coach. Stan Marple has been the General Manager of the Golden Bears since 2012 and was a member of the coaching team since 2007. Conference host Cheryl MacDonald conducted a Q & A session with Coach and Stan about how hockey has changed on a global level since their time playing professionally leading up to today.
  • Kieran Block, Guest
    Kieran is a teacher, a former Paralympic sledge hockey (parahockey) player, a graduate of the Western Hockey League, and a former University of Alberta Golden Bear. He also survived a near-fatal cliff diving accident and wrote a book about it titled “The Ups and Downs of Almost Dying”. Kieran shared his amazing story at the Conference and discussed the status of parahockey in terms of inclusion and what it means to be disabled.
  • Brock McGillis
    Brock (as of the time this was written) is the only living openly gay former professional hockey player in the world. His career has brought him to the Ontario Hockey League, East Coast Hockey League, U Sports, and the Holland Premier League. He is a student at Laurentian University, owns an athletic training business, and is now a public speaker. He spoke at the Conference about the challenges of being a closeted hockey player and the work that remains to make the sport truly inclusive.
  • Dr. Vicky Paraschak, Guest
    Dr. Paraschak has been a faculty member in Kinesiology at the University of Windsor since 1984. Her research focuses on Aboriginal peoples and sport, which has translated into her involvement in initiatives to improve conditions of Aboriginal Sport in Canada (including her role as a Policy Officer for the NWT government’s Sport and Recreation Division). Dr. Paraschak crafted a talk on the role of ice hockey in answering Cananda’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls to action.


Conference Organizers

Local host:

Cheryl MacDonald, University of Alberta


2018 Organizing Committee Members:

Jonathon Edwards, University of New Brunswick

Bryan Mortensen, University of Alberta

Denyse Lafrance Horning, Nipissing University

Alexandra Mountain, University of Pittsburgh

Ethan Maertens-Poole, University of Alberta

Carly Adams, University of Lethbridge

Kristi Allain, Saint Thomas University

With special thanks to:

Ian Reade, University of Alberta

Barb Robinson, University of Alberta

Colin Howell, Saint Mary’s University

Andrew Holman, Bridgewater State University

Julie Stevens, Brock University

Don Morrow, Western University

Evan Westfal, University of Alberta

Courtney Szto, Queen’s University

Andre Grace, University of Alberta

Matthew Kinney, great person

Sponsors and Partner Organizations

We are grateful for the support of our many sponsors and partner organizations.

  • The City of Edmonton
  • University of Alberta Bears and Pandas
  • Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services (ISMSS)
  • MacEwan University Sport and Wellness
  • Maple Leaf Athletic Club
  • United Sport and Cycle

Thank you to our other sponsors and partners: University of Alberta Campus & Community Recreation, Université de l’Alberta Campus Saint-Jean, and Chateau Lacombe Hotel.

Click here for 2016 Hockey Conference Program.