Will a young man have the courage to discover more about himself and another person as he tries to fit in with his new hockey team and a new city?
“Lions in Waiting“, is a Canadian short film that debuted in 2017 and offers a realistic perspective on how LGBTQIA+ athletes integrate into a largely male sport. This Jason Karma film revolves around Ray’s struggles on and off the ice as he joins a minor league hockey team and tries to adapt to a new city. It stars Taylor Kare, Bob Frazer, and Riley Davis.
Warning: Spoiler alert. Read at your own risk!
In the first scene of the seventeen-minute film, Ray (Taylor Kare) is seen inside his room snapping pictures of his bare body while his mom yells at him to hurry so he won’t be late for hockey practice. Because he was late, the team’s strict Coach ordered the whole team to sprint through the ice or perform suicide skates as a warm-up, making everyone irritated at him. Rigid training comes after.
While his mom waits for him to complete training, Ray sees her talking to a man in the hallway. His mom proudly shows off photos from his past games, in which he won the top player slot for his former team. The man is introduced as the father of Ray’s teammates, Peter and Shelby, neither of whom is interested in getting to know him. Ray’s mom wishes him a happy birthday and gives him cupcakes as a gift, which he awkwardly attempts to avoid because there are still strangers around them. The dad and son pair leave, but not before adding, with a tinge of mockery, that they’ll have to wait and see if Ray will remain the best player on the new team. Ray consoles his mom, who appears to be offended by the remarks made about her son.
The team plays and wins in a competitive game while Ray and Dave, another newcomer, remain on the sidelines. The entire group starts to celebrate in the locker rooms after their victory, talking about girls, boosting one another, and passing around cans of beer. Someone shouts to go grab them just as the newcomers are about to taste their beer, alerting the group that the hazing has begun. Ray and Dave are shoved to the ground with arms choking their necks. The two try to fight off Peter and Shelbey when they start to pee on them, calling them Rooks in a mocking tone while someone records the hazing event. At home, Ray cleans himself roughly and then starts to touch himself after. Later that night, his mother observed a bruise appearing from where he was choked; he shrugged and attempted to downplay the incident. Realizing that her son will not talk about what happened, she tells him that his dad will be proud of him for playing hockey.