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Fort McMurray hockey team forfeits season after backlash over ‘disrespectful’ video




An uproar in Fort McMurray, Alta., over a viral video that some considered racist has led to a minor hockey team forfeiting the remainder of its season because of safety concerns.

Parents of players on the Fort McMurray Midget ‘A’ Junior Oil Barons issued a statement this week strongly criticizing the “brash actions” of the Fort McMurray Minor Hockey Association after an online video surfaced last month showing young hockey players dancing to the song Electric Pow Wow Drum by A Tribe Called Red.

“The video showed a few team members, some of them Indigenous, engaging in a motivational dance,” the parents said in their statement, issued Wednesday. “This was not intended as a derogatory or racist act.”

The parents said they are telling their side of the story after “failed attempts” to come to a resolution with the minor hockey association.

On Jan. 21, hours after the video surfaced online, the association issued a media release saying it was “devastated” by the players’ actions in their “disrespectful” video.

“It is wrong and will not be tolerated. The display of ignorance is sad and gravely unfortunate,” association president Travis Galenzoski said in the statement. “These players will know how deeply impactful their wrong actions are.”

The statement no longer appears on the association’s website or social media feeds.

Players received death threats

In their own statement, the parents said the hockey association’s actions “contributed to team members receiving death threats, threats of harm, and humiliating and degrading comments about them on social media.”

At least one team member had a “police presence” after the hockey association’s statement, “in direct response to threats made against them.”

The parents said the hockey association failed to consult with anyone from the team before publicly condemning the video and the players’ actions.

“FMMHA’s media statement was released within three hours of the video surfacing,” the parents said. 

“This action, coupled with the failure to contact any staff member on the video about the video, demonstrated a lack of thorough investigation to the facts of the video and breached the fiduciary duty it owes to its players in looking after their safety and best interests.”

The hockey association identified the team name, allowing people to “identify, locate and publish personal information about the players on the team, as well as their upcoming schedule for the remainder of the season,” the parents said.

Shane Kearney, the father of a player not in the video, told CBC News the video was meant “as a way to pump the boys up before the game.

“We felt like they [the association] owed the boys a public apology.”

Roxanne James, a parent whose son was also not in the video, said players had to deal with threats and criticism.

“They were ridiculed,” she said. “They were humiliated.”

CBC has sought comment from the association but has not heard back.

The video shows players, some in skates and Junior Oil Barons hockey uniforms, dancing to the tune. One player uses the lid of a garbage can as a drum, striking it with a hockey stick. Some laughter is heard in the background.

CBC has chosen not to publish the full video because the players range between the ages of 15 to 18.

‘They were ridiculed. They were humiliated’

In another statement on Jan. 23, a lawyer for the McKay Métis Association said two boys in the video are Indigenous.

Dwayne Roth said the boys were pow-wow dancing in the locker room before the game and the dance was intended to reflect their culture and motivate the team.

“Rush to judgment based on out of context video clips is becoming all too common and poses real danger to the reputation and safety of those incorrectly labelled.”

In their statement, the parents said they decided to forfeit the remainder of the season because it was “too dangerous” for the players, their families and others involved.

The team forfeited a total of six games, including two scheduled for this weekend.

The team has paid a $2,100 penalty for dropping out but has decided to take part in provincial play-downs “in hopes to end the season on a positive note.”

The parents slammed the hockey association for ignoring “one of the basic tenets of today’s inclusive and tolerant societal norms, namely, not understanding the other side and rushing to a rash, often incorrect, judgment.”


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List of Tourist Attractions Open Now in Ottawa




With Ontario now in Step 3 of 2021 three-step plan for reopening, museums and other indoor attractions are allowed to reopen with capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity indoors and 75 per cent capacity outdoors.

Here is a list of Ottawa attractions you can visit starting July 16th.

Do remember to wear masks and buy tickets in advance.

Parliament Hill

Parliament’s Centre Block and Peace Tower are closed for renovation.

You can join for tours of the Senate of Canada Building (2 Rideau Street), House of Commons at West Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill, and East Block at East Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill.

When: Grounds open; guided tours of Parliament are suspended through the summer of 2021.
Where: 111 Wellington Street, Downtown Ottawa

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Ottawa performer leapfrogs from gymnastics to Broadway to TV




A new AppleTV+ series set in a magical town that’s stuck in a neverending 1940s musical includes a pair of Ottawa siblings in the cast. 

Warren Yang and his sister, Ericka Hunter, play two of the singing, dancing residents of the village portrayed in Schmigadoon!, a small-screen series that takes its cues from classic musicals like Brigadoon, Wizard of Oz and Sound of Music, and skewers them with the offbeat comedic mastery of Saturday Night Live. 

In fact, you’ll recognize many of the names from SNL, starting with executive producer Lorne Michaels, creator of the late-night, live-comedy sketch show. Schmigadoon! also stars SNL cast member Cecily Strong and comedian Keegan-Michael Key, who hosted SNL in May. They play a New York couple who get lost on a hike and stumble into a strange town where everyone sings and dances. 

For Yang, a relative newcomer to show-biz, the series marks his television debut. For Hunter, the younger of his two older sisters, it’s the latest in a career path that began with dance lessons as a child more than 30 years ago. She attended Canterbury High School, Ottawa’s arts-focused secondary school. 

“Her dream was always to perform,” said Yang, 34, in an interview. “But that was never the path I thought was an option for me.” 

While his sister studied dance, Yang did gymnastics. He was an elite gymnast throughout his youth, ultimately leaving Merivale High School at 16 to train in Montreal, finishing high school through correspondence courses. He was a member of the Canadian National Team and received a scholarship to study at Penn State, majoring in marketing. 

A few years after graduation, Yang was working at an advertising agency in Toronto when he got a call from a Manhattan number. To his astonishment, they asked if he would be interested in auditioning for a Broadway revival of Miss Saigon.

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COVID-19: uOttawa to require vaccination for students living in residence




Vaccination will be mandatory for students who want to live in residence at the University of Ottawa this year, with proof of vaccination and at least one dose required before move-in, or within two weeks of doing so if they can’t secure a shot before arriving.

Those who can’t receive a vaccine for “health-related reasons or other grounds protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code” will be able to submit a request for accommodation through the university’s housing portal, according to information on the university’s website.

Students with one dose living in residence will also have to receive their second dose “within the timeframe recommended by Ottawa Public Health.”

People who haven’t been granted an exemption and don’t get vaccinated or submit proof of having done so by the deadlines set out by the school will have their residence agreements terminated, uOttawa warns.

“Medical and health professionals are clear that vaccination is the most (effective) means of protecting people and those around them,” reads a statement provided to this newspaper by uOttawa’s director of strategic communications, Patrick Charette.

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“It is precisely for this reason that the University of Ottawa is requiring all students living in residence for the 2021-2022 academic year to be fully vaccinated. The University recognizes that some students may require accommodations for a variety of reasons and will be treating exceptions appropriately.”

Faculty, staff and students are also strongly encouraged to get vaccinated, the statement notes.

“Ensuring a high vaccine coverage in all communities is critical to ensuring an ongoing decline in cases and ending the pandemic. This will be especially important with the return of students to post-secondary institutions in our region in the fall of 2021.”

Neither Carleton University nor Algonquin College is currently mandating vaccination for students living in residence, according to the websites for both schools. But uOttawa isn’t alone in its policy – Western University, Trent University, Durham College and Fanshawe College have all implemented similar requirements. Seneca College, in the GTA, is going even further, making vaccination mandatory for students and staff to come to campus, in-person, for the fall term.

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