Cover image for Crossing the line : violence and sexual assault in Canada's national sport
Crossing the line : violence and sexual assault in Canada's national sport
Robinson, Laura.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Toronto, Ont. : McClelland & Stewart, [1998]

Physical Description:
ix, 254 pages ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library GV848.4.C2 R63 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



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.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

The pain, suffering, and shock felt by women who are sexually assaulted is intense and deep; when women are sexually assaulted by athletes, their pain extends beyond their own immediate world. Robinson brings to light behavior by athletes that often appears to be a "right of passage." Throughout each of several case studies, readers will empathize with the incredible anguish felt by victims, they will become enraged at the unbelievable toleration of such behavior, and they may sense the power claimed by the perpetrators. Simply because one possesses athletic prowess, many individuals apparently believe that they may assert power over others, particularly over women, in a violent and sexual manner. One leaves this book questioning what athletes are taught with regard to what they often claim as their right and privilege. This is "must" reading for athletes, both male and female, of high school and college age. It will be extremely useful in undergraduate sociology or sports classes and could easily serve as optional text reading in graduate sociology of sport and women and sport classes as well. K. H. Weiller; University of North Texas

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