As women, Taylor Clark and Maya Grossman have known that hockey isn’t for everyone for a long time. But finding all of the ways that hockey has made itself inaccessible and uncomfortable for for many fans goes deeper than just being a girl who likes sports.
That’s why last year, they started their podcast called “Outliers.”
Blurring the lines of sports fandom and social issues, Maya and Taylor talk about current events in the NHL ,and the world of hockey at large, from the perspective of fans the league tends to ignore — the “outliers,” as it were. Self-described as a podcast “for and by people hockey media isn’t typically for and by,” the pair take on how sexism, racism, homophobia, and so much more intersect with being a sports fan.
“We literally started it because I was listening to another podcast and they were talking about Anthony DeAngelo and said, ‘He has some off ice stuff too, but that’s not important,’” said Grossman. “And that was the final straw for us.”
DeAngelo was suspended in the OHL for violating the league’s harassment, abuse, and diversity policy in 2014. There are few details, but it’s alleged he used a slur against his own teammate. He was also suspended three games in the NHL for harassing an official while with the Coyotes in January 2017.
“We had kinda-sorta talked about it before, but we didn’t have real conviction for it until we realized that there was a need for hockey coverage that would stop when they were covering Patrick Kane or Drew Doughty and be like ‘Alsoooo, he’s accused of assault’ and actually treat big issues like they matter and address the larger social issues within hockey on a consistent basis (and not just the NHL, but the women’s leagues, leagues overseas),” explains Grossman. “And mixing in a little coverage of leagues people don’t pay as much attention to. We did a whole episode on the Australian league. We’ve talked a lot about the SHL and women’s leagues in Finland and Sweden.”
In their most recent episode, Outliers takes on exactly how hockey isn’t for everyone, detailing their own experiences in covering hockey and being a fan.
“Hockey is for everybody? No, it’s not,” says Clark in the episode. “Hockey is for a very small slice of people who play in the NHL and people who look and act like them. It’s not for women’s hockey players. It’s not for players of color. It’s not for LGBTQ players. Hockey is for Everyone is for a very specific group of people.”
“If you’re looking for validation from the NHL, it’s not coming,” adds Grossman.
This episode is a two-part episode, where the hosts are asking marginalized fans to submit audio clips for the second half. If you’re interested in submitting, you can contact them via Twitter (@weareoutliers) or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.