Weekly Links: Developing a critical approach to analyzing hockey; Ending the sexist “puck slut” label; Follow up to the World Junior Championship and the NHL Winter Classic; 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!

  • Zuzana Botiková, who contributes to this blog, produced a radio piece on the Bronze medal winning Slovakia team at the World Junior Championship, which touches on the cultural prominence of hockey in both Slovakia and Canada (and even features an interview with yours truly!). [Radio Slovakia International]
  • Jessica-Lyn Saunders writes about being a female hockey fan and the damaging label of “puck slut” or “puck bunny.” A great read. [Rabid Habs]
  • A bit of an older post, but great stuff from Stefan Wolejszo on how to develop a critical approach to doing hockey analysis. [Integrating Hockey Analysis]
  • Matt Larkin takes an in-depth look at the CWHL as it attempts to grow as a league, including the struggles faced by the unpaid players and a consideration of the WNBA’s relationship to the NBA. [The Hockey News]

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Weekly Links: Remembering Pat Quinn and Viktor Tikhanov; Prince Albert Raiders drop controversial mascot; Impact of Arizona State in men’s NCAA hockey; and more

  • Two legendary hockey coaches passed away this week: Viktor Tikhanov, who coached the USSR through many successful decades in international hockey; and Pat Quinn, who coached Canada’s Gold Medal winning 2002 Olympic Men’s team and (in various stings between 1979 and 2010) the Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles Kings, Vancouver Canucks, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Edmonton Oilers. Elliotte Friedman reflects on the life and legacy of both men. [Sportsnet]
  • Two further reflections on Tikhanov’s legacy, from Stephen Smith and Dmitry Chesnekov. [puckstruck; Puck Daddy]
  • Roch Carrier’s classic Canadian tale, The Hockey Sweater, is celebrating its 30th anniversary. [CBC News]
  • Many college hockey pundits and fans are celebrating Arizona State’s entry into NCAA men’s hockey competition. Jeff Cox offers a dissenting opinion, considering how this could damage the sport at the college level. [SBN College Hockey]
  • After the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders stirred controversy with a mascot that presented a cartoonish caricature of an Arab man, the team decided to pull the mascot. [Huffington Post]
  • Quebec used to produce a large number of NHL-calibre goalies, but no longer. Ken Campbell considers why. [The Hockey News]
  • With an NHL-controlled World Cup of Hockey likely to launch soon, the league is hoping the tournament will generate $100 million in revenue. [Puck Daddy]

Weekly Links, Bonus Sochi Edition: Should the NHL participate in the Olympics?; The status of women’s hockey at the Games; NCAA hockey alumni at Sochi; 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!

Editor’s note: Not surprisingly, most of the hockey world is focused on the Winter Olympics currently underway in Sochi, Russia. However, there is still great hockey writing being done about non-Olympics issues. This edition of the Weekly Links is thus divided into two posts: on Friday we posted non-Olympics links, while this post is devoted exclusively to writing about the Sochi Games. We hope you enjoy both posts!

  • There has been a great deal of discussion about whether NHL players should continue to participate in the Olympic Games. Ed Snider, owner of the Philadelphia Flyers, offered outspoken comments about the NHL’s participation in the Olympics, calling it “ridiculous.” [Broad Street Hockey]
  • Nick Cotsonika offers a good take on the dilemma posed to the NHL by Olympics participation, particularly given the popularity of the event with players like Zdeno Chara, who missed two Boston Bruins’ games to carry the Slovakian flag at the Opening Ceremonies. [Yahoo! Sports]
  • And Harrison Mooney also discusses whether the NHL should send players to the Games, arguing that the current situation “create[s] a situation where players have to serve two masters” – their club and their country. [Puck Daddy]

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Tim Hortons and Olympism

At a recent conference, I presented on Asians in my university’s kinesiology program and drew upon the “Proud Fathers” commercial from Tim Hortons (Mark Norman has also written about this commercial on this blog). Tim Hortons initially ran that ad during the 2006 Winter Olympics and followed up with another multicultural ad entitled “Welcome Home” during the 2010 Winter Olympics. From Tim Hortons’ marketing standpoint, it seems like the Olympics can serve as the visual site of cultural integration. While American statistics indicate that ethnic minorities disproportionately watch less of the Olympics, the Nielsen ratings do not categorize by the type of sport in the Olympic Games. With the NHL already holding the “least diverse” audience distinction in the United States, it is a low bar for the Olympics to surpass the NHL in ethnic minority viewership.

In the Canadian context, with a reported 26.5 million (80% of all Canadians) watching at least part of the men’s hockey gold medal game – smashing all previous records of hockey viewership – it can be inferred that many non-traditional fans watched hockey for the first time. In the non-traditional fans group are those who belong to an ethnic minority, and of those people categorized, some might have become hockey fans. Of those newly-turned hockey fans, some might not have the resources to participate themselves. It would be incorrect to say that ethnic minorities are, as a generalized block, poor. At the same time, the people participating, particularly those at the high-performance level, are not always indicative of the broader demographics.

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“The Good Ol’ Hockey Game”: The Cultural Resonance of Stompin’ Tom Connors’ “The Hockey Song”

Canadian musician “Stompin’ Tom” Connors passed away two days ago, at aged 77. Connors is a legend in Canadian music, releasing 40 albums or compilations career and penning a number of Canadian country music hits. But it is one song that made Connors a household name across Canada and amongst hockey fans around the world: “The Hockey Song,” a 1973 track, is routinely played at hockey rinks throughout North America and has become, in many ways, hockey’s version of baseball’s iconic “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”

“The Hockey Song” is a simple, straightforward ode to “the good ol’ hockey game,” with a catchy sing-along chorus that latches itself in your unconscious and doesn’t let go. It is simultaneously a charmingly hokey Canadiana folk song, with its twangy riffs and lyrical simplicity; and an anthemic, arena-sized rock song that is virtually guaranteed to get 15,000 hockey fans singing along together in a packed stadium. In this sense, it manages to symbolically bridge the paradox of hockey’s mythologized representation as a rural game emerging from the frozen Canadian landscape, evoking images of frozen ponds and ramshackle small town rinks, and its contemporary reality as a multibillion dollar, transglobal entertainment industry.

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“A N*gger in Net”: A proud product of Canadian immigration and Canadian integration?

Malcolm Subban. Photo from the Toronto Sun.

Like peanut butter and jam, with Malcolm Subban in net for Team Canada during the World Junior Tournament also came the racist tweets and comments.  It is becoming old news: black hockey player = racist taunts.  If you would like to see what was tweeted check out this article by Rachel DeCoste, ‘A N*gger in Net': Racism at the World Juniors, or this one by Neate Sager, World junior championship: Racial tinge to social media slams of Canada goalie Malcolm Subban.  Like I said, it’s nothing new when social media enthusiasts capitalize on the rarity of a watching a person of colour play hockey to write about bananas, cages, and monkeys, but what I noticed this time is how writers and commenters are so quick to defend Canada’s multicultural identity.  Granted, not all of the tweets are from Canadians but regardless of where they come from we as noble Canadians often uncritically stand up and say “Whoa! Racism is not cool and that is not what the maple leaf stands for.”  I think it’s time to face that fact that maybe it is what we are about, at least a little.

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Teaching a sociocultural course on hockey at the undergraduate level: Thoughts on course content and critically engaging students

Starting next week, I will be teaching a third year course to undergraduates in University of Toronto’s Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education. The course is called “Hockey in Canadian Society” – and yes, I realize that the title is incredibly similar to the name of this blog! I am extremely excited, if a little nervous, about starting the course. I do not have nerves about public speaking or about the course preparation – I have been excited to teach this course for months and so have already spent quite a lot of time on its design – but rather whether I can successfully impart the complexities of hockey’s social construction in Canadian society to undergraduate students.

This post simply offers an overview of the course, my thoughts about engaging students critically with a sport many of them love, and presents a list of sources that students will read. I hope that it may provide a useful resource for other scholars teaching about hockey and more generally provide a useful list of some good academic and online sources about the sport. If you have any comments, feedback, or suggestions please let me know!

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