Hockey Helps the Homeless…but what does Canada do?

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Photo from York Region.com

Hockey Helps the Homeless (HHTH) was started in 1996 as as industry tournament by Toronto businessman, Gary Scullion.  Today, there are 14 tournaments held across Canada, and six university tournaments run by over 500 volunteers.  Players are asked raise a minimum of $250 in addition to paying the $200 registration fee which pays for 3 games, a personalized jersey, some food and a banquet.  Last year, the Vancouver tournament raised over $346,000 in gross revenues and has raised over $1 million since 2011.  HHTH partners with 35 different agencies across Canada to support front-line support projects (e.g., the disbursement of survival kits, food delivery trucks, providing medical and counselling services, and  renovations) and reintegration and transition projects (e.g., helping to prepare people to reintegrate into the workforce and independent living by providing life skills, funding libraries and skills training).

The growth of using sport for social change is becoming increasingly prevalent.  Perhaps, Right to Play is the best known champion for the use of sport as a vehicle to build capacity, teach skills, and build solidarity.  Now we have events, programs, and fundraisers such as the Skate to End Poverty,  the Homeless World Cup, and a host of charitable runs and races that all privilege the so-called power of sport.  HHTH has certainly identified an important area of social concern but while we recognize that HHTH does some tangible good for Canadian communities, we should also ask:

  • How does playing hockey help the homeless, aside from raising money?
  • If HHTH tournaments are so successful at raising funds, why are the number of tournaments growing each year?
  • Is there any way that hockey actually contributes to homelessness?
  • Is homelessness an individual concern or an issue for the government?
  • Is money and resources all that is needed?
  • If you told a homeless person on the street that you were going to play hockey on their behalf, what do you think their response would be?
  • What role does the rising cost of living play in homelessness in Canada?

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Weekly Links: Major television deal for the Canadian Women’s Hockey League; Raising Awareness for Mental Health; NHL Expansion; Fighting in Junior Hockey; and more

Ben Scrivens of the Edmonton Oilers

Ben Scrivens of the Edmonton Oilers

Welcome to Hockey in Society’s Weekly Links post. This feature highlights articles or blog entries that are related to Hockey in Society’s areas of interest and that may be of interest to the site’s readers. Please check out some of the great writing that is happening in the hockey media and blogosphere!

  • Big news for women’s hockey as Sportsnet has agreed to a four-year television deal with the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, making the league available nationally. A look into what this means for the league and women’s hockey. [Toronto Observer]
  • The NHL is considering expanding, and will likely add a new team in Las Vegas. The ownership group will include William Foley and the Maloof family, who gained notoriety as owners of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings. [SB Nation]
  • Larry Brooks reports that because of the weak Canadian dollar, there is a chance that the NHL salary cap will not go up next season. [New York Post]
  • A piece on how Prime Minister Stephen Harper is using hockey to build better relations with the Chinese Government. [National Post]

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Hockey Research at the 2014 North American Society for the Sociology of Sport (NASSS) Conference

One of the things we like to do at Hockey in Society is highlight current sociocultural research about hockey being done by scholars across the globe (you can see various posts related to academic conferences here). Last week, the annual conference for the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport (NASSS), a scholarly association for sport sociologists, took place in Portland, Oregon. Unfortunately I was not able to attend, but the program is published online, so I am still able to highlight the research being presented that it relevant to the critical study of hockey and its place in society.

After the jump, check out the abstracts from relevant presentations (including from Hockey in Society writers Courtney Szto and Matt Ventresca). Topics include entrepreneurship and the formation of all-Black sport leagues (including the Colored Hockey League in the Canadian Maritimes) in the Reconstruction Era; racialized media media representations of black players, including the Montreal Canadiens’ P.K. Subban; the demise of Hockey Night in Canada and La soirée du hockey and the loss of hockey on Canada’s pubic broadcasters; social media reaction to Punjabi hockey broadcasts; and concussions in sport.

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Weekly Links: Gordie Howe suffers stroke; Impact of AHL’s Overtime rule changes; Largest stick tap for spinal research; and more

Gordie-Howe

Welcome to Hockey in Society’s Weekly Links post. This feature highlights articles or blog entries that are related to Hockey in Society’s areas of interest and that may be of interest to the site’s readers. Please check out some of the great writing that is happening in the hockey media and blogosphere!

  • Best wishes to the legendary Gordie Howe who recently suffered a serious stroke. [SB Nation]
  • In case you missed it, here’s a recent interview of Gordie Howe….by Wayne Gretzky. [TSN Bardown]
  • While the You Can Play project has helped fight homophobia in North American hockey culture, Paul Wheeler reports that homophobia remains a serious problem in British professional hockey. [Chasing Dragons]
  • The Florida Panthers will be launching Spanish broadcasts of three games this season, in an effort to reach out to the Hispanic community of Miami. [Litter Box Cats]
  • Hockey Canada is attempting to improve the quality of Canadian goaltending through a learning exchange with Swedish and Finnish hockey federations. [Sportsnet]
  • Jack Jablonski, who suffered a severe spinal injury, is organizing the largest stick tap this weekend. Awareness is being raised for spinal research by this unique initiative. [Puck Daddy]
  • The story of Willy Alexander Thomas, an American youth hockey player, who committed suicide at the age of 17.  [New York Times]
  • Ottawa Senators prospect Brad Mills has been suspended for 20 games for violating the AHL’s performance-enhancing drug policy. [Metro News]
  • Rule changes pertaining to overtime sessions have reduced the number of shootouts in the AHL. A look into the rule change and the possibility of the NHL adopting similar policies. [The Hockey Writers]
  • A look at incentives and disincentives for removing fighting from hockey. [Arctic Ice Hockey]
  • Mementos in the digital age. A look into the decline of printed tickets. [Sport Heritage Review]

Happy Birthday Šatan; or, How Should a Legend Retire?

The only pet I ever had was a small water turtle. I got it in the summer of 2002, and its name was Šarky (read as Shar-ke), as it was the most popular name in Slovakia at that time. You could hear it in phrases like “Šarky is God!” or “Šarky to the castle!” (in Slovakia this latter phrase doesn’t indicate any historic sightseeing, but becoming the country’s president). Šarky is not a regular given name, but it is the official nickname of Miroslav Šatan, a retired Slovak ice hockey player, who captained the national team to one gold, two silvers and a bronze in four World Championships, won the Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009 and never really said a “proper” goodbye to the ice hockey scene. On October 22, Šarky celebrated his 40th birthday and all of the Slovak media celebrated with him. However, you could sense some uncertainty about the recent position Šatan is occupying in the minds of Slovak sports fans.

If the Slovak ice hockey in the era of its independence (which means since 1993) was to have a synonym in a person of a single player, then it definitely is Miroslav Šatan. He played with the senior men’s team since 1992, moreover, the very next year he was also drafted to the NHL. As just a 19 year-old lad he was part of the Slovak national team, which after the split of the former ice-hockey empire – Czechoslovakia – was demoted to the lowest ‘C’ division. However, it took just 10 years and Šatan, as the team’s captain, was raising the top divisions’ World Championship trophy above his head. Maybe he was not as iconic a player back in those times as other notable Slovaks, Žigmund Pálffy, Peter Bondra or Pavol Demitra, but he definitely was considered to be the one defining the style Slovaks played.

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Weekly Links: Reaction to Voynov’s arrest for domestic violence; Ex-players’ lawsuit against the Canadian Hockey League; Szabados and Raty play in men’s pro leagues; and more

Welcome to Hockey in Society’s Weekly Links post. This feature highlights articles or blog entries that are related to Hockey in Society’s areas of interest and that may be of interest to the site’s readers. Please check out some of the great writing that is happening in the hockey media and blogosphere!

  • After a gunman killed a Canadian reservist and attempted an attack on Parliament in Ottawa, the Pittsburgh Penguins played the Canadian anthem before their game against the Philadelphia Flyers as a show of respect. [Sportsnet]
  • The news that Slava Voynov of the Los Angeles Kings had been arrested for domestic violence has generated a huge amount of discussion and debate (currently charges are likely or will be dropped, depending on whether you listen to the DA or to his Voynov’s lawyer). Adam Proteau argues that the NHL should adopt a zero tolerance policy for domestic violence and ban players found guilty of this crime for life. [The Hockey News]
  • Meanwhile, writer stace_ofbase from Battle of California uses the Voynov case to discuss domestic violence more broadly and call for empathy for victims. [Battle of California]
  • NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is receiving kudos, and favourable comparisons to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s handling of Ray Rice’s violent assault, for handling this situation swiftly and suspending Voynov indefinitely until a verdict is reached. I find it sad that this response even needs to be applauded rather than taken as granted, but given the pro sport world’s track record on domestic violence perhaps we need to start by pointing out when a league acts sensibly in response to a new incident. [Puck Daddy; Globe and Mail]
  • For those wondering about the moral quandary of cheering for athletes who do bad things off the ice/court/field, this scholarly roundtable discussion (written in light of the Ray Rice case) is fascinating reading. [The Allrounder]

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Weekly Links: Taxes paid by NHL players; Attendance issues in Florida; History of Nassau Coliseum; Growth of women’s hockey in Mexico; and more

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Welcome to Hockey in Society’s Weekly Links post. This feature highlights articles or blog entries that are related to Hockey in Society’s areas of interest and that may be of interest to the site’s readers. Please check out some of the great writing that is happening in the hockey media and blogosphere!

  • A look into the different taxes NHL players pay depending on their province or state. Montreal is listed as the worst for players, while Florida and Nashville have lower tax rates. [TSN]
  • A recent NHL game in Florida was poorly attended, drawing criticism from fans who feel the market cannot sustain a professional hockey club. But other factors other than the market are impacting the poor attendance, including the team’s performance. [SB Nation]
  • An excellent profile of Nassau Coliseum, which the New York Islanders will be vacating to move to Brooklyn. [The Cauldron]

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