Hockey games anti-racist in the Gaspé

Des matchs de hockey antiracistes en Gaspésie

Louis-Marie Rivard, Saint-Alexis, Terry, Pictou, Eel River Bar, and Terry Isaac, Listuguj, have developed a strong friendship through hockey over the years.

January 20, 2020 4: 00

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Hockey games anti-racist in the Gaspé

Des matchs de hockey antiracistes en Gaspésie

Gilles Gagné

The Sun

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SAINT-ALEXIS — Affected by the racist statements made on January 4, in a match to Paspébiac, the members of a group of players francophones, aboriginals, and anglophones in the gaspé peninsula and new brunswick intend to organise two matches of hockey of anti-racist to Paspébiac, on the 29th of march.

The group wants to organize a party for the young people, then plus old will play in turn, as they have done for years, twice a week, in the arena of Campbellton, New Brunswick.

“We would like a meeting with the youth of Listuguj, Gesgapegiag, Paspébiac and we could also invite players of Chandler. After that, our gang as usual will play his turn,” says Louis-Marie Rivard, Saint-Alexis, near Matapedia.

The “gang of habitual” is composed of players in the gaspé peninsula of the MRC d’avignon, whether they are francophone, Mi gmaqs Listuguj or English. The next new brunswickers, the same ethnic groups are represented. The Mi gmaqs come from Eel River Bar. On the benches and in the locker room of the players, one hears three languages and a lot of teasing.

“I got in the group there are fifteen years. It already existed. It is called the Restigouche Drive-Thru now, or RTD, because it is the name of our sponsor, a trade which belongs to Allison [Metallic, a former chief of Listuguj]. Before, the group was called Hotel-Dieu, the name of the old hospital,” says Louis-Marie Rivard, noting that the Aboriginal people were already playing in this group at its inception in 1970!

This retired teacher has been playing for a long time, more than 50 years, hockey in Avignon-west and north-West of New Brunswick. There has always been intolerance, but there has always been also in good agreement.

“I’ve practically always played hockey with the Aboriginal people. It started when I was young. I played with Peter, the Vicar of the project Harmony people-to-people, which has been working for more than 15 years to the reconciliation of peoples. I played with Rocky, Metallic. He was tall and big. The other let us pass. It was kicked, and one was received. Hockey is a contact sport”, said Mr. Rivard.

Reports in evolution

Despite the incident between the Goons of Chandler to the Chiefs of Gesgapegiag on January 4, Mr. Rivard believes that the reports change with time. In this game, players Chandler had handled the Chiefs of the “christ of the Indian”.

“Often, the incidents of which come from prejudices. We hear that they [Aboriginal people] do not pay taxes. It is just ignorance. It is we who have been locked up in reserves and they chiale? They fished for salmon in the Restigouche river and it was good. The Whites have made it an industrial fishery. When it fell, they [the Whites] have prevented the Aboriginal people from fishing because the Americans were coming,” said Mr. Rivard.

Terry Isaac, a police officer at the retirement of Listuguj and a member enthusiastic team of Restigouche Drive-Thru, saw a lot of things in more than 40 years on the rinks, including a expulsion of his people from the defunct League of industrial of Campbellton, in the 1970s.

“The hockey was more crazy at the time. We had released Listuguj of the league. I think our team won too. We protested by walking on the bridge,” said Terry Isaac, about the bridge connecting the Gaspé peninsula in New Brunswick.

His words are measured. “I don’t see people as francophones, anglophones and aboriginal people. I see human beings. There is racism on both sides, among the Whites, but also among the Mi gmaqs. There are people who will always be intolerant, but the understanding between groups is much improved. We only see battles as before,” said Mr. Metallic.

The good understanding between peoples, it is as a couple. It is necessary to maintain the relationship, ” notes Louis-Marie Rivard.

“The group comes in to play two times per year in the arena of St. Alexis. I was given a nickname in mi’gmaq, that sounds like Guizigu, which means the elder. We made two trips together per year. On January 13, 2017, we went to Montreal and we played a game at the Bell Centre. After games, we often eat together, taking a beer, and play cards. We understand each other, despite the language barrier,” said Mr. Rivar

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LINKS SPORTS, DATING BACK MORE THAN 60 YEARS

On the 27th of January 2019, when the citizens of Saint-Alexis paid tribute to James A. Dufour, giving its name to the local arena, a member of the audience was particularly happy to have been invited to : Allison Metallic, ex-chief of Listuguj and the son of Alphonse, a former head also.

Is that Alphonse Metallic, deceased since many years, had played baseball with Jacques Dufour 60 years earlier, for the team from Saint-Alexis. It was the receiver, and that Mr. Dufour is throwing. The two players were a duo to be very effective, according to those who remember it.

“My father has always had a high opinion of you,” said Allison Metallic to Jacques Dufour. “I loved playing with him,” retorted the ex-pitcher in his nineties.

The complicity and harmony in the sport were, therefore, possible there are more than 60 years in the Gaspé. Louis-Marie Rivard recalls. “Alphonse Metallic was probably the first “Indian”, as they were called at the time, that we saw at Saint-Alexis. I said to Allison. People have kept a good memory of him.”

Jacques Dufour unfortunately died in the summer of 2019, of a short illness. He was alert until the very last moments of his life.

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