Exciting news: I just started working at my former elementary school as an assistant, and my second-grade teacher (side note: special shoutout to Mrs. Millar) and I talk about the Canes since she’s a fan too. Probably not so exciting news: we were talking about the draft and trade deadlines and one of the names that popped up was Tony DeAngelo, who recently re-signed a one-year deal with Carolina as somewhat problematic.
Tony DeAngelo has been a hot topic for Hurricanes hockey, but probably more so for his controversies than his playing. While he may be a strong offensive defenseman, I’m sure we all know about his history of problematic behavior on and off the ice. In case you’ve been living under a rock, DeAngelo’s controversies date back to 2014, when he was suspended from the Sarnia Sting (twice) for using racist, sexist, and homophobic language, violating league policy. In more recent years, DeAngelo’s track record includes fighting his Rangers teammate Alex Georgiev and questioning the COVID-19 pandemic.
When DeAngelo was first signed by the Hurricanes in 2021, Black Girl Hockey Club Tweeted “‘Reminding the [Hurricanes] of their commitment to disrupt racism on and off the ice. This includes not rewarding racist behavior with a shiny new contract.’” Considering the Hurricanes also have Alyssa Gagliardi on their development camp coaching staff, the Junior Hurricanes Girls league that strives to be the “premier girls hockey organization in the Southeast,” and the Canes Girls Youth Hockey program whose goal is to “develop and inspire the next generation of female hockey players in the Carolinas,” DeAngelo’s signing could be seen as rewarding sexist behavior considering his past. This means signing DeAngelo goes against what the Hurricanes and their affiliated programs stand for: making hockey an inclusive environment for everyone regardless of race and gender.
To be fair, Tony DeAngelo apologized for his actions when they first happened, but later flat out denied them. He doesn’t bounce from one team to another because he can’t play well, it’s because of his behavior. No one wants to work with someone who is problematic for the team, and in this case it’s DeAngelo. As a Hurricanes fan, I hope that that isn’t the case this time and that he doesn’t have a negative impact on the team’s dynamic. Most importantly, I hope that he actually learns from his actions by taking accountability and not repeating them.