Dean Lapierre has been reinstated as president of the Windsor Minor Hockey Association after being suspended for more than two months for making misogynistic comments about women on Facebook.
Lapierre was removed from the position in January after his post described Canadian participants in the Women's March on Washington as "dumb bitches." The post was investigated by the Ontario Minor Hockey Association.
"I took the hit, I did the time," he said when reached by phone Monday. "I used the wrong words. If they wanted to march I should have left it alone."
No more social media
In order to learn from the experience, Lapierre said he has removed himself from all social media, participated in online training and did some in-person training with Lydia Fiorini from the Sexual Assault Crisis Centre of Essex County.
Lapierre described the hockey association as the "love of his life" along with his family, so it was difficult to be barred from awards banquets and camps while he was suspended. Still, he maintains he learned his lesson.
"The most important thing I learned is anything you put on the Internet stays there," he said. "I think my comments offended people and the last thing I wanted to do was be malicious to anyone whether it be women or anything like that."
In the days after Lapierre's comments were made public, Fiorini called on him to make a public apology, female hockey players in Windsor said his words were moving women's hockey in the "wrong direction" and Unifor Local 444 pulled its funding from the association.
'Things can be blown out of proportion'
Having a large public persona is part of the president's role according to Lapierre.
"That comes with the spotlight, good or bad," he explained.
He said some people in the community don't like him "for whatever reason" and that he's not worried about changing the opinions of the detractors who don't even know him.
"It's ... not putting down women, but having to watch what you say because people will take it that it was demeaning towards women," he said. "Things can be blown out of proportion and I don't need any negative spotlight anymore."
The association is still considering how they could include respect-for-women training before the season starts in September, according to Lapierre, who added 30-40 girls participate in the league.
"Hopefully our coaches realize too that they're players just like the boys," he said, adding that has never been a problem before.
As for concerns his comments about women could have a negative impact on young female players, the president said comparing female marchers on Washington to 8-year-old players is "apples to oranges" and "not even close."
"I made a mistake," Lapierre said. "I guarantee it will never happen again."