Clare Clancy, The Canadian Press
REGINA – A Saskatchewan junior hockey team is under fire after unveiling a new mascot that critics are calling offensive to Middle Eastern people.
Prince Albert Raiders spokeswoman Amber Pratt said the mascot’s costume is based on the Western Hockey League team’s original logo introduced in 1982 which depicts an Arabian raider character holding a sword and a hockey stick.
“The version that we brought to life is happy, with a big smile on his face,” she wrote in an email on Tuesday.
“He wears hockey pants and a hockey jersey. He is a positive symbol of Raider history and was loved by fans when introduced on Friday night.”
Pratt said she is surprised by the criticism and the organization has received way more positive comments than negative.
But Rhonda Rosenberg, executive director of the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan, said the mascot plays into possible discrimination.
“The idea of a somewhat violent Muslim man is a stereotype that is really difficult for a lot of people to live with,” she said.
Rosenberg added that if a team uses a mascot representing a particular cultural group “at the very least they need to check in with some people who are of that background.” Continue reading