So you're a tough guy, eh?: Constructions of identities by competitive male ice hockey players


Throughout sport psychology literature, the relationship between identity and sport has been explored; however, research on how athletes come to develop certain identities has been lacking, particularly in aggressive sports, such as hockey. The proposed study will explore how competitive male ice hockey players construct their identities through sport participation. Framed within a social constructionist paradigm, and guided by narrative theory, this study addresses the intersectionality of multiple identities such as masculinity, race, and social class. Participants will include six to eight players from three competitive hockey teams in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. Unstructured, conversational interviews will take place with each participant, asking them questions pertaining to their experiences in sport, with injury, and as a hockey player. Interpretative thematic analysis will be completed to identify common themes, as well as differences between the narratives. In line with narrative theory, keeping the integrity of the participants' stories will be the focus of data analysis. Based on previous literature, anticipated findings include identities of athletes being shaped by their early sporting experiences, the culture of sport, and idealized masculine values. The goal of the proposed study is to provide insight into the way sociocultural processes are used for forming identities, while also leading a path of new research into identity formation and the impact of sport culture. The results of this study will be important for facilitating a better understanding of how athlete identities are shaped both negatively and positively and their implications for individuals both in and out of sport.

Acknowledgments: Kelly D. Harding, PhD; Amanda Schweinbenz, PhD, Jennifer Johnson, PhD