Masters of Education in Human Movement Sport and Leisure Studies Graduate Projects


Josie D. Kinneer


Mainstream press narratives identify homonegative behaviors occurring in men’s ice hockey that may negatively impact gay and bisexual inclusion in the sport climate. The conceptual framework guiding this project draws from Messner’s (2002) model of peer group relationships and principles of inclusive excellence (“AACU”, 2018; Kauer & Krane, 2010). Messner’s (2002) model describes the social dynamics of the male athlete group, explaining how relationships are influenced by the desire for approval and acceptance as well as the fear of isolation. Inclusive excellence (AACU, 2018) is a guiding philosophy designed to increase diversity, inclusion, and equity. Kauer and Krane (2010) apply inclusive excellence to sport, suggesting that coaches utilize teachable moments, create dialogue, and engage in proactive behaviors. The theoretical concepts that influence the experiences of gay and bisexual (GB) men in ice hockey are hegemonic masculinity (Allain, 2008; Pappas et al., 2004) and homonegativity (Anderson, 2002; Gregory, 2011; Messner, 1992). Homonegativity is used to support the hegemonic masculine hierarchy, which is further supported by, and supportive of the peer group relationship structure as described by Messner (2002). Peer group interactions strengthen and mirror the hierarchy of hegemonic masculinity, supporting the creation of a heteronormative sport climate by using homonegative language and behaviors. Motivation to retain group status regardless of questionable group member behavior (i.e., homonegativity) contributes to sustaining hegemonic masculinity. I offer four strategies to enhance GB inclusion in ice hockey: (a) change the climate of ice hockey by shifting value to traits associated with inclusive excellence, (b) reframing peer group relationships by changing the qualifying characteristics of leaders and empowering the marginalized, (c) offering emotional protection of teammates, and (d) addressing innate power imbalances by embracing individual responsibility to uphold equity. These suggestions are framed in inclusive excellence (AACU, 2018; Kauer & Krane, 2010) and are intended to guide coaches and sport psychology practitioners toward promoting a men’s ice hockey culture that encourages GB inclusion by breaking from ideals associated with hegemonic masculinity and homonegativity, and by redefining peer group roles.


Vikki Krane

Second Reader

Nancy Spencer