Windsor

Windsor, Ont. hockey official's offensive comment about Women's March 'sad,' says sex assault worker

Windsor Minor Hockey Association, Dean Lapierre is being investigated after calling Canadian participants in the Women's March on Washington "dumb bitches" in a post on his personal Facebook page.

Comments can be an opportunity to talk with hockey players about respecting women

Dean Lapierre. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

Offensive comments posted by the president of the Windsor Minor Hockey Association on social media have set back efforts to teach young men about respecting women, said the director of the Sexual Assault Crisis Centre of Essex County.

Dean Lapierre is being investigated after calling Canadian participants in the Women's March on Washington "dumb bitches" in a post on his personal Facebook page.

On Tuesday, the executive director of the Ontario Minor Hockey Association, Ian Taylor, condemned the comments and said the association is looking into the matter.

Comments violate code of conduct

"Nobody deserves to be called a bitch," said Mike Dugal, past president of the Windsor Minor Hockey Association. "No woman deserves that. I find that offensive."

The Windsor Minor Hockey League's code of conduct states "members of the Association shall refrain from the [sic] comments or behaviours, which are disrespectful, offensive, abusive, racist or sexist." 

The code, which applies to officers of the Association, also explicitly states that it applies to "all social networks."

Dean Lapierre posted on Facebook about Canadian women attending the Women's March in Washington, D.C. (@kerrilp37 / Twitter)

"It's extremely inappropriate and disrespectful," said Lydia Fiorini, director of Windsor's crisis centre. "It's really sad that men still see that there's a problem with women speaking out and saying it's time women are treated with respect."

Fiorini has been working with the OHL to teach hockey players to consider how their words and actions can demonstrate respect for women, but she said Lapierre's comments have hurt that effort.

"These statements really set that movement back," she said.

Parents surprised and sad

Parents watching their children play hockey at the Adie Knox Herman arena Tuesday night said they were shocked to hear about Lapierre's comments.

"It's 2017 now and there are still people who think that way and talk that way and are role models in charge of young boys and girls who say stuff like that," said Shayna Gauthier. "It's crazy."

Another woman, who would only give her first name, Shelley, said — although the president was just expressing his opinion — she was upset Lapierre would use offensive language where her grandson could read it.

"I'm surprised that anyone would write something like that. I'm more surprised that the head of a minor hockey league would type something like that," she said, describing the post as being in "really poor taste."

Both women said they wanted Lapierre to take responsibility for his comments and admit that they were wrong.

In an interview with the Canadian Press Lapierre said he "screwed up" and should have used better judgement before posting the comment.

"I just thought we can do more by protesting in our country," he added.

Lydia Fiorini is the executive director of the Sexual Assault Crisis Centre of Essex County. (Jonathan Pinto/CBC)

A hockey mom herself, Fiorini said she's heard sentiments similar to Lapierre's comments around the rink in the past. But, she added, his coarse words might present a chance to make sure they don't happen again.

"I think it's an opportunity to speak to young men who play hockey … that this is not how we speak about women, it's not how we treat women, it's very inappropriate and it never should have been said."

with files from the Canadian Press

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