The Millwoods Hockey Association in Canada was forced into allowing Shanvir Singh, 9, to wear his kirpan (ceremonial dagger) while playing ice hockey.
Shanvir Singh was registered to play in a league organised by the association. After his first session of play at the association, his mother, Gurjit Kaur, heard that her son’s kirpan had been removed by the coach and that he had been told not to bring it to the association.
However, due to the efforts of a dialogue undertaken by the World Sikh Organisation (WSO) and the association, the child was eventually allowed to wear the kirpan.
Shanvir is a baptised or amritdhari Sikh, who is required to keep the five articles of faith, including the kirpan.
The only rider to the permission is that the kirpan had to be worn underneath his hockey gear, wrapped in a cloth and secured close to his body.
WSO Alberta vice-president Tejinder Singh Sidhu said, “Given that the hockey arena is filled with dangerous items such as hockey blades and sticks, the issue really wasn’t about the safety of the kirpan but more about helping to understand how it is accommodated in other settings.
We’re glad that the family contacted us for advice and in doing so, were able to resolve this not just for them, but also for other Sikh players who might find themselves in similar situations in the future.”