Weekly Links: Popularity of NHL teams; Edmonton Oilers honor First Nations community; Charles Wang potentially selling majority share of Islanders; 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!

  • Bob Nicholson is set to resign as CEO of Hockey Canada. During his tenure, Canada has won seven Olympic gold medals, 12 world junior titles, five men’s world championships and 10 women’s world championships. [The Globe and Mail]
  • The Edmonton Oilers hosted a Celebration of First Nations Hockey last week as part of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada event. The club honored Fred Sasakamoose, the first Canadian of First Nations descent to play in the NHL, as well as other residential school hockey players and their descendants. The Oilers also announced that 20 spots at their annual hockey school will be held specifically for First Nations across Alberta. [Edmonton Oilers]
  • An interesting take on how junior players are being labelled as bullies by the league for their on-ice behavior. [National Post]
  • It appears that New York Islanders owner Charles Wang is looking to sell the majority of his stake in the franchise. [Lighthouse Hockey]
  • The two minor league players who staged a fight, that ended with a hug and a beer, have been suspended by the Federal Hockey League. [National Post]
  • Calgary Flames President Brian Burke continues to speak out against homophobia in hockey. [CBC]
  • A look into unregulated, “outlaw”, leagues, which are becoming a popular option for youth hockey players. [CBC]
  • Fifethirtyeight looked at the popularity of NHL teams based on Google searches. No surprise that the Habs and Leafs are at the top, while Nashville, Florida and Columbus are at the bottom. [FiveThirtyEight]
  • A very insightful piece on the importance of methods in hockey analytics.  [The Copper and Blue]
  • In case you missed it, the University of Alberta hosted a public lecture on hockey analytics. [University of Alberta]
  • And in honor of David Letterman, who is set to retire next year, a compilation of the top hockey moments on the Late Show. [Shnarped]

Weekly Links: Taylor Fedun’s Remarkable Comeback; Blackhawks Honored at the White House; Fallout from the Flyers-Capitals Line Brawl; Ken Dryden’s Response to Bobby Orr; and more

Source: NHL.com

Source: NHL.com

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!

  • Edmonton Oilers defenceman Taylor Fedun capped off a remarkable comeback to the NHL by scoring a goal in his first NHL game. The Princeton graduate shattered his leg almost two years on an icing play and missed an entire year due to the horrific injury. After playing a full season in the AHL, registering 27 points for the Oklahoma City Barons, Fedun returned to the NHL to resume his career. [Oil Spills]
  • The Chicago Blackhawks were honored at the White House by US President Barack Obama for their Stanley Cup championship. [Second City Hockey]
  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s new book A Great Game: The Forgotten Leafs & The Rise of Professional Hockey was officially released this week. Tony Keller provides an excellent book review. [The Globe and Mail]
  • Ray Emery and the Philadelphia Flyers have taken some heat for the line-brawl against Washington. Even though Emery went after Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby, who really wanted no part Emery, it doesn’t appear any suspensions are looming. [Broad Street Hockey] Read more of this post

Weekly Links: David Dziurzynski, the “Code,” and making it in the NHL; Islanders and Red Wings arena issues; Hockey participation rising in California, Iowa; 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!

  • A great in-depth read about David Dziurzynski, the Ottawa Senators rookie who was knocked out last season in a fight with Frazer McLaren of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Amongst other issues, the article discusses the “Code” in hockey and the challenges faced by young hockey players looking to prove themselves and stick on a roster at the NHL level. [The Globe and Mail]
  • After the drawn out political saga of the New York Islanders’ attempts to redevelop their arena and remain located on Long Island, which ultimately ended last October with the team agreeing to move to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn for the 2015-16 season, Nassau County politicians are now calling for the Islanders to remain in a redeveloped Nassau Coliseum. This is just the latest twist in an extremely drawn-out political battle, and Kevin Schultz is not impressed. [Islanders Point Blank]

Read more of this post

Weekly Links: Stephen Harper’s New Book, Concussions in Junior Hockey, NHL Executive Salary, and More

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Source: CBC)

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Source: CBC)

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!

  • Congratulations to Team Canada for winning gold at the Four Nations sledge hockey tournament in Russia! All the best to the players as they get set for the Paralympic Winter Games in 2014! [CBC News]
  • The plans for a new arena for a new hockey arena continues to be an issue as the city of Detroit struggles. [Financial Post]
  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s book A Great Game: The Forgotten Leafs and the Rise of Professional Hockey is set to be released in early November. The book will delve into the history of the game with proceeds from the book going to the Canadian Forces Personnel and Family Support Services (CFPFSS). [Newswire]
  • It was announced this week that Russian legend Pavel Bure will be heading up a new KHL franchise in Sochi after the Winter Games are completed. It will be interesting to see what other long-term projects stem from the Olympics. [Ria Novosti]
  • While concussions have received a great deal of awareness and scutiny at the NHL level, Chris Peters argues that much more needs to be done at the junior and college levels in order to protect players form long term injuries to the head. [United States of Hockey]

Read more of this post

Roundtable: The NHL and NHLPA Partner with the You Can Play Project

Roundtables are an occasional feature on Hockey in Society. Roundtables will present brief commentaries from Hockey in Society contributors on pressing or timely issues within hockey and its culture, with the aim of presenting a diverse range of critical viewpoints on the topic under discussion.

On April 11, the NHL and NHL Player’s Association announced a joint partnership with the You Can Play Project, an anti-homophobia initiative started by NHL scout Patrick Burke. The partnership will aim to create a welcoming environment for hockey players of all sexual orientations and to provide educational resources to incoming and current players. From You Can Play’s press release:

The official partnership with You Can Play includes a significant commitment to education and training for teams, players, media and fans plus the production and broadcast of more public service announcements.  The NHL becomes the first major American professional sports league to officially partner with an LGBT advocacy group on this scale. . . .

You Can Play will conduct seminars at the NHL’s rookie symposium to educate young prospects on LGBT issues. In addition, You Can Play will make its resources and personnel available to each individual team as desired. The NHLPA and NHL also will work with You Can Play to integrate the project into their Behavioral Health Program, enabling players to confidentially seek counseling or simply ask questions regarding matters of sexual orientation.

Regular readers of Hockey in Society will know that issues of homophobia in or related to hockey cultures have been a prominent feature on this blog – from the notable recent changes to hockey’s traditionally homophobic culture, to Brian Burke’s strident and public anti-homophobia stance, to the Canadian Conservative government’s downplaying of Canada’s support of gay marriage in favour of publicizing famous hockey victories, to, of course, the emergence of the You Can Play project in 2012. Given this history of critical treatment of LGBTQ issues in hockey and the significance of the newly formed partnership, Hockey in Society is proud to present its second Roundtable on this topic. After the jump, you will find commentary from three Hockey in Society contributors: Courtney Szto, Matt Ventresca, and Alvin Ma. Hopefully these differing views shed valuable light on the issue of homophobia in hockey cultures and spark important debate and discussion on this subject and related issues.

Read more of this post

The Lockout Is Over: So now what?

Bettman and Fehr

Nice sweater, Gary. (Photo courtesy of CTV News)

When the big news broke over the weekend, media and sport organizations across North America began mobilizing their teams of journalists, marketers and social media gurus with a “War is Over”-type fervour. The company line, uttered in places as far reaching as Toronto, Detroit and Carolina, was that Sunday was a “great day for hockey.” Canadian cable sports networks provided seemingly around-the-clock coverage of the announcement, balancing negotiation figures and summaries with in-depth season previews and trade speculation (Have you heard? Apparently some Luongo guy might change teams). Behind the scenes, sponsors that attempted to capitalize on lockout-related angst throughout the coverage of the World Junior tournament are undoubtedly working tirelessly to prep a “hockey’s back!” campaign that will fall somewhere short of hypocritical.

But what struck me about much of the coverage of the apparent end to the lockout (don’t forget about that pesky ratification vote!) was the inclusion of countless sound bites from disgruntled fans vowing to boycott the NHL, at least temporarily. The burning question on the lips of seemingly every news anchor, reporter and analyst was: How can the NHL win back its fans? And in the days following the “Game On” announcement, we have been offered plenty of answers.

The Associated Press suggested reduced ticket prices, more special promotions, giveaways and autograph signings among other “fan friendly incentives.” Luke Fox over at Sportsnet wonders if a free ticket to your favourite team’s first home game or discounted TV packages might warm up the league’s frigid fan base. Even the jokesters from Sports Pickle recommended a few (ironic) strategies that the NHL might want to consider.

But I want to turn this question upside down. Instead of only asking what the NHL has to do to rekindle good will amongst its supporters, should the accompanying question be: what can fans do to resist?
Read more of this post

Weekly Links: Homophobia in hockey; Fallout from Cam Janssen comments; The politics and economics of hockey arenas

[Editor's Note: This post is two days late. Apologies that I was not able to get it posted on the weekend.]

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.

Hockey Links

  • Tyler Shipley published a great piece about homophobia in hockey in light of the criticism received by Brian Burke for his decision to march in Toronto’s Pride Parade rather than man the phones to make free agent signings on July 1. A great read. [Left Hook]
  • Meanwhile, Steve Dangle has a good interview with Patrick Burke about the You Can Play Project, which continues to gather momentum to fight homophobia in hockey. [Leafs Nation]
  • Cam Janssen of the New Jersey Devils unleashed some extremely sexist and homophobic comments on a radio show last week. He also stated that his role on the ice is to hurt players, to catch them with their heads down and injure them. Needless to say this sparked a huge amount of controversy. [SB Nation]
  • Not surprisingly, Janssen quickly apologized. While many people vilified Janssen for the comments, Patrick Burke reached out to him over the homophobic comments and appealed for people to forgive Janssen for the mistake. [Backhand Shelf]
  • Ellen Etchingham had a scathing critique of Janssen and one-dimensional goons, discussing his comments about injuring players and his very limited on-ice role with the Devils. [Backhand Shelf]
  • Ryan Lambert also weighed in on Janssen’s comments and role as an NHLer. [Puck Daddy]
  • I recently wrote about the construction of legacy in relation to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Ellen Etchingham has a great post in the same vein about Harvey Jackson, who starred for the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1930s but who had off-ice issues (including alcoholism and domestic assault) that created a rift with Leafs’ owner Conn Smythe and kept him out of the Hall for many decades. An interesting discussion about what the Hall represents, what characteristics it should honour, and how it whitewashes the controversy that surrounds many hockey players and events. [Backhand Shelf]
  • Former USSR and Canada players are preparing for a friendly game that will be rematch of the 1972 Summit Series. The game, celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Series, will take place in Moscow in September. While the article overdramatizes the impact of the Summit Series, it is notable politically as both Vladimir Putin and Stephen Harper will be part of the ceremonies. [Globe and Mail]
  • A new reality show will feature young Aboriginal men trying to earn a shot at advancing in hockey and performing before scouts. It will air on the Aboriginal People’s Television Network. [Ottawa Citizen, via Puck Daddy]
  • Ken Campbell argues that, while it has temporarily increased their local popularity, winning the Stanley Cup will not have a serious long-term impact on the Kings’ place in the Los Angeles sports market. [The Hockey News]
  • Lots of arena news last week. To start, Lighthouse Hockey has an update on the latest political wrangling over the fate of the Nassau Coliseum, home of the New York Islanders. [Lighthouse Hockey]
  • Meanwhile, could the Islanders move to the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY? [Puck Daddy]
  • David Ebner reports on David Katz’s attempts to get a downtown arena built for the Edmonton Oilers, and his veiled threat to move the team if the arena deal does not go through. A good read on the politics of sport venues. [Globe and Mail]
  • Another story about a Canadian NHL team’s arena: the Vancouver Canucks are planning to construct rental apartments adjacent to Rogers Arena in the city’s downtown. [Globe and Mail]
  • Also lots of labour news, as the NHL and NHLPA begin negotiations over a new CBA. Greg Wyshynski examines the hypocrisy of Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold, who three months ago was claiming that salaries were causing him to lose money on the team and who then approved the signing, for a combined $198 million, of Ryan Suter and Zach Parise. [Puck Daddy]
  • Also on Puck Daddy, The Player – an anonymous NHL player/blogger – explains what the players’ issues are in the labour process. [Puck Daddy]
  • Interesting post about expansion in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), including new Women’s Hockey programs at Nipissing (North Bay, ON) and Ryerson (Toronto, ON) Universities and a new hockey program for both men and women at Laurentian University (Sudbury, ON). [Eh Game]

General Sport Links

  • Hockey in Society contributor Courtney Szto has a couple good pieces up on her blog, The Rabbit Hole. This one discusses Serena Williams and the myth of “colour-blindness” in sport. [The Rabbit Hole]
  • And this post discusses double-amputee Oscar Pistorius, who will be competing in the London Olympics this summer. A great discussion of how society constructs disability. [The Rabbit Hole]

Weekly Links: Brian Burke criticized for marching in Pride Parade; Who was hockey’s first goon?

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.

Hockey Links

  • Interesting historical piece by Iain Fyffe looking at the emergence of the “goon” or “thug” in hockey, in which he argues that it was the Broad Street Bullies who first brought the role of pure goon into the sport. [Hockey Historisis]
  • Brian Burke’s decision to march in Toronto’s Pride Parade, instead of man the phones on the first day of Free Agency, has drawn criticism. [Globe and Mail]
  • Meanwhile, Burke spoke in support of the You Can Play Project about the prospects of a gay hockey player playing in the NHL. [TVO]
  • Ken Campbell reports that NHL players will be much more engaged in this summer’s CBA negotiations than they were in the 2004-05 labour process, and the NHLPA will be “more active [and] organized.” [The Hockey News]
  • Edmonton Oilers prospect Nail Yakupov has been criticized by the Edmonton media for excessive celebrations in a rookie camp. Justin Bourne urges media and fans not to crush the fun out of creative and exuberant players. [Backhand Shelf]
  • A controversy may be brewing, as blue-chip prospect Jacob Trouba was reportedly offered $200,000 to forgo his commitment to Michigan University in order to play for the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers. [United States of Hockey]
  • His family has released a statement denying the allegations. This may be the end of this issue, but the topic of illegitimate payments (or offers) by CHL teams to junior players should certainly be an important topic to keep an eye on in the future. [United States of Hockey]
  • Alex Radulov has left the Nashville Predators and returned to the KHL. Dmitry Chesnekov wonders: is this the end of his NHL career? [Puck Daddy]
  • This post is from March, so apologies for not posting it until now. But Nathan Kalman-Lamb’s post about Sidney Crosby and injury is definitely worth a read. [Nathan Kalman-Lamb]
  • Raffi Torres of the Phoenix Coyotes has had his precedent-setting 25-game suspension, which was given during the playoffs for a headshot to the Chicago Blackhawks’ Marian Hossa, reduced to 21 games by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. [Puck Daddy]

General Sport Links

  • Elena Chou has a strong piece about racism at the recent Euro 2012 tournament and in soccer more generally. [Left Hook]
  • Interesting post about militarism in Major League Baseball. [Runs Batted Out]
  • South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius has qualified for the London Olympics, and will be the first amputee to ever compete in the Games. [CTV]

Weekly Links: More reviews of Theoren Fleury documentary; Fallout from Ron Maclean’s 9/11 comments; New media and hockey fandom

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.

Hockey Links

  • Last weekend I reviewed Theo Fleury: Playing With Fire. This week, a few more reviews of the film have come out. [Backhand Shelf; Globe and Mail]
  • Ellen Etchingham sees a critical role for on-ice officiating in cracking down on dangerous play in hockey and argues that refereeing, not supplemental discipline, needs to be more prominent in changing the culture of the sport. [Backhand Shelf]
  • Insightful and disturbing article by Sean Gordon about the prominence of prescription drugs in NHL hockey, often seen by players as a necessary way of coping with the grueling schedule and travel required of them. [Globe and Mail]
  • Ron Maclean has drawn considerable flak for comparing Washington Capitals and New York Rangers players to the firefighters and cops who responded on 9/11. He has issued a clarifying statement, but the controversy lingers. [Puck Daddy; Backhand Shelf]
  • Very interesting fan movement that aims to track the popularity of Twitter amongst hockey users in order to refute the idea, put forward by ESPN’s Senior VP, that hockey is not part of “a national discussion” in the United States. [Queen Crash, via Not Another Hockey Blog]
  • Speaking of Twitter, Justin Bourne thinks that the tongue-in-cheek tweets from the Los Angeles Kings’ account may point the way toward NHL teams’ new media future. [Backhand Shelf]
  • Interesting news from the IIHF World Championships being co-hosted by Stockholm, Sweden and Helsinki, Finland: high ticket prices have dissuaded spectators from attending games, and organizers have been forced to slash ticket prices in response. [Puck Worlds]
  • Brian Burke, GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs, will attend an anti-homophobia flag-raising outside Toronto City Hall. Rob Ford, Toronto’s mayor, will not. [Globe and Mail]
  • James Mirtle on the rise of shot-blocking as a defensive tactic in the NHL playoffs. [Globe and Mail]
  • Interesting post that touches on a wide variety of issues in hockey, including violence, masculinity, corporate interests, and legacy/heroism [Vintage Leaf Memories]
  • Greg Wyshynksi reports that some Philadelphia Flyers fans are suing the team over their ticket policy for the Winter Classic. It is an interesting case of fans vs. teams and access to and cost of tickets. [Puck Daddy]

General Sport Links

  • Buzz Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights, has a provocative editorial about why NCAA football should be eliminated. [Wall Street Journal]
  • Concerns about fan racism and hooliganism cloud the preparations for the 2012 Euro Cup being held in Poland and Lithuania this summer. [BBC Sport]

What Obama could learn from Brian Burke

How to make a civil rights statement with vigor

I’m not sure, well, I guess…
from http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/03/scintegrity/

Compare these two quotes:

“It has become abundantly clear to me that NHL players, coaches, and management agree completely with our ideals: talent matters, sexual orientation does not. If you can play, You Can Play.”

“At a certain point, I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”

The first is from Brian Burke, the old-school, hockey fight-advocating General Manager of the Toronto Maples Leafs. I think you know the second one. Both are in support of LGBT rights, but notice the difference in tone. Burke, as is his wont, is blunt and direct. He’s a hockey guy, and he’s taken this issue on like one: no bull, no tip-toeing. To use an analogy he’d appreciate, he’s dropped the gloves for this cause.

Obama, on the other hand, voiced his support for gay marriage like he was strapping himself into a car seat facing down and suspended by fickle wires over a shark tank. I mean, how many qualifiers, delays, pauses and passive-voice constructions can you use in 32 words? Then there’s this:

And that is that, in the end the values that I care most deeply about … is how we treat other people and, you know, I, you know, we are both practicing Christians and obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others but, you know, when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated.

Mr. President, you know, you’re going to say what, you know, you’re going to say, so, you know, you should probably just go ahead and, you know, say it. Like Brian Burke did. No amount of hesitation will defend you against attacks from those who absurdly think it’s their right to speak with absolute certainty on behalf of a god who claimed “I am who am,” and a book that includes the phrase “all is vanity” (or “all is vapor,” in a more direct translation), both of which are perhaps the most vague and uncertain statements of all time—and are but two among a host of others (which, in turn, should probably indicate to true believers that maybe in following this faith you should be thoughtful, not angry). Be that as it may, the president just stuck his neck out for a worthy cause, and he should be commended for that (cautiously, remember when the Hope balloon deflated?).

Still, it was hard not to be a little disappointed in Obama’s evasive pronouncement, and to find a welcome contrast in the “You Can Play” initiative led by Burke and his son Patrick. Of course, the POTUS is in a far different position than a GM, with a whole lot more riding on his decision, and accepting gay athletes is not the same as supporting gay marriage. Or is it? Read more of this post