Weekly Links: NHL expansion to Seattle; Continuation of women’s hockey in the Olympics; Sportsnet and CHL extend broadcast agreement

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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!

Congratulations to the Canadian Women’s hockey team on winning the gold medal in Sochi!

  • John Barr reports on the rumours of NHL expansion to Seattle. [Sonics Rising]
  • A great comprehensive post arguing for the continuation of women’s hockey on the Olympics program, a topic that was also addressed last week in this blog’s Olympics Roundtable. [Japer's Rink]
  • On the topic of women’s hockey, Finland’s star Olympic goalie Noora Räty is retiring from women’s hockey at the age of 24, citing the lack of competitive leagues in which to play. What does Räty’s decision say about the state of women’s hockey? [The Pink Puck]
  • Latvian netminder Kristers Gudlevskis put on a remarkable performance against the Canadians in the quarter finals. James Mirtle provides some details about the netminder and his difficult path to professional hockey. [Globe and Mail]
  • TJ Oshie gained significant attention for his shootout performance against the Russians early in the tournament. Sam Laird looks into how it all played out on social media. [Mashable]

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Weekly Links: MLSE service workers strike, settle; Teenage boys must choose between CHL and NCAA; USA Hockey to ban fighting?

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!

  • Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, the multibillion dollar corporation that owns the Toronto Maple Leafs, settled with its striking concession and service workers this week. Final details have not yet been released, but the MLSE proposals included wage rollbacks or freezes for many employees. [Rank and File; Toronto Star]
  • Big news in junior hockey, as USA Hockey is looking into banning fighting at all levels of its amateur system, including the junior league the USHL. [SB Nation]
  • Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe has an inside look at the NHL’s Department of Player Safety, which is headed by Brendan Shanahan and responsible for fining and suspending players for dangerous play. [Boston Globe]

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Hockey Research at the 2013 North American Society for the Sociology of Sport (NASSS) Conference

The annual conference for the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport (NASSS), a scholarly association for sport sociologists, will take place this week in Quebec City, QC. As usual, the program is packed with interesting presentations on a wide range of critical issues in sport; also as usual (e.g. the 2011 conference), there will be a number of presentations focused on or around the sport of hockey.

Many of the writers for Hockey in Society will be in attendance, and one – Vicky Grygar – will be presenting research on hockey. You can read the full program here, but after the jump I have pasted the abstracts of the hockey-related presentations that will be delivered (please note these are direct quotations of the abstracts and that the intellectual property belongs to the authors). Hopefully this gives readers a sense of some of the research being conducted by sociologists about hockey.

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Weekly Links: Sean Monahan and the NHL-CHL relationship; Steve Moore lawsuit to go to trial; Ethical sourcing of hockey gear; New books by Ken Dryden and Dave Bidini; 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!

  • Ken Campbell has an interesting read, in light of the Calgary Flames’ decision to keep 2013 first round pick Sean Monahan in the NHL, about the agreement between the NHL and the Canadian Hockey League that forces players to return to junior (rather than the AHL) if they do not stick with their NHL team. [The Hockey News]
  • Steve Moore’s lawsuit against Todd Bertuzzi, ten years after the latter’s attack on the former, will finally be heard in front of a jury in September of next year. [CBC Sports]
  • Hockey Canada is working to ensure that all of their products are manufactured by ethical suppliers. This is perhaps in response to the revelation that factory workers who were killed in the 2013 Bangladesh building collapse were making products for Loblaws. [Globe and Mail]

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Review: “Hockey: A People’s History” (2006)

In 2006, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) aired a 10-part series entitled Hockey: A People’s History (HAPH). Adopting the approach used in its popular 2000 miniseries Canada: A People’s History, the CBC focused in this series on the experience of Canadians with the sport of hockey for over a century. Beginning with early ball and stick games played in various societies over human history, the documentary quickly moves on to introducing European ball and stick games played on ice and First Nations baggataway (the forerunner to what became institutionalized as the sport of lacrosse) as the predecessors to modern hockey. After this very brief homage to hockey-like folk games, the documentary discusses the early organization of ice hockey by amateur athlete in Montreal and proceeds from there to focus entirely on the development of hockey in Canada over a roughly 125 year period.

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The Aftermath of the Canadian Hockey League Players’ Association (CHLPA)

Photo courtesy of http://www.chlpa.com

Now that the aftermath of the collapse of the Canadian Hockey League Player’s Association (CHLPA) has simmered, a period of sincere reflection is perhaps due. The CHLPA, whose mission was to represent all Canadian Hockey Players (CHL) players in a fair and equitable manner, disintegrated under pressure from the CHL. The organization vowed to provide unionized protection to over 1,400 hockey players across Canada, aged 15-20 years.

The greatest misstep of the organization was its association with Randy Gumbley, a former coach who was charged by Hockey Canada for committing fraud. Whether true or not, the allegations were enough to seize any momentum the CHLPA had gained. The Gumbley lawsuit is not black and white. After having organized a tournament in Europe during the 2004-2005 National Hockey League (NHL) lockout, things got messy and the tournament folded. Players paid substantial money to attend the tournament, and eventually a lawsuit unfolded. According to Gumbley, Hockey Canada is to blame and as you can imagine, going to war against the most powerful sport organization in Canada is not trivial. The story is interesting, yet extensive.

The CHL hired a private investigator to uncover the identities of the CHLPA founders, and once they realized it was a Gumbley project the organization hit a downwards spiral. Interestingly enough, although Randy Gumbley had little to do with the organization, and it was in fact Randy’s brother Glenn Gumbley who was the backbone, the CHL was successful in convincing media outlets all around the country that a fraudster was attempting to unionize and protect the hockey hopefuls of the CHL.

The saga of the Gumbley story is not over, and the end remains distant. The important thing though, to take from it all is that the information available to the public on the matter is not enough to make anything more than an opinion. With that said, there were many positive steps taken by the CHLPA in uncovering the realities occurring in regards to player treatment in the CHL.

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A Stipend or Restriction? Why CHL Players are Unable to Gain NCAA Eligibility

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Photo courtesy of unitedstatesofhockey.com

What changes need to occur to allow Canadian Hockey League (CHL) major junior players to be granted eligibility to play in US college system, the NCAA? The NCAA requests two alterations: 1) remove the stipend 2) remove the classification of “major” junior. The letter below received by the CHLPA from Natasha Oakes, Assistant Director of Academic and Membership Affairs of the NCAA, outlines the distinct barriers disallowing CHL players NCAA eligibility.

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I received this document from an inside source and was puzzled by the simplicity that would be involved in allowing CHL players to head down South. Then I began wondering what the ever so modest “stipend” CHL players receive is really for.

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Roundtable: Weighing in on the NHL Lockout

We are pleased to introduce the first Hockey in Society Roundtable, a new feature at 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.

Simon Darnell – “Cartel Contradictions”

The current NHL lockout – like most labour disputes in professional sports – is so off-putting for the ways that it co-opts us into caring about a fight between the extraordinarily rich. This is ‘Billionaires vs. Millionaires,’ goes the familiar refrain, and the average fan is alienated given how impossible it is to relate to the stand-off.

Still, this doesn’t stop fans from trying to do just that. For example, if you read the comments posted on any e-story of the lockout over the past few weeks (I know, but I can’t help myself), you undoubtedly read something like this:

“Imagine if you owned a company and the employees took home 57% of the revenue. You wouldn’t stand for it!”

Followed shortly thereafter by something like:

“Yeah, well imagine if your boss gave you a raise and then demanded it back three months later!”

Applying real-world labour politics to the lockout in this way would seem to be a logical heuristic exercise, save for one important detail: The ‘real-world’ doesn’t apply here. In fact, the enduring legacy of the lockout should be to remind all of us 9-5ers of how dramatically far removed we are from the labour structures of professional hockey.

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Weekly Links: Shea Weber signing indicates financial disparities between NHL teams; Homophobic hockey reporter gets criticized; Updates on the Jacob Trouba saga

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

  • Shea Weber signed a massive offer sheet with the Philadelphia Flyers. Adam Proteau examines the disparity between large market teams such as the Flyers and small market teams such as the Nashville Predators. [The Hockey News]
  • Meanwhile, James Mirtle answers the question: “Why [do] NHL teams cry poor despite the league’s record growth?” A very interesting read about the distribution of revenue between teams. [Globe and Mail]
  • Good post comparing Gary Bettman’s rhetorical two-stepping about concussions in hockey with the tobacco industry’s tactics to defend itself against criticism. [The Hockey Writers]
  • A journalist for the Niagara Falls Reporter published a homophobic defense of fighting in hockey: “The NHL’s abominable, “You Can Play” promotion, which all but endorses homosexuality in hockey, is among its top priorities. Thanks to Gary Bettman and his ilk, enforcers are out, but gays are in. . . . Fortunately for Sabres fans, the team has not come out of the closet and the signing of tough guy, John Scott is an indication there might be some shred of manliness left in an otherwise emasculated organization.” Brutal. [Niagara Falls Reporter]
  • Reaction in the hockey blogosphere was swift, with many jumping to condemn the reporter and the newspaper. Pensions Plan Puppets was among the first to respond. [Pension Plan Puppets]
  • Chris Peters is doing a great job covering the recruiting scandal involving the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL and Jacob Trouba, who has committed to play at Michigan University next year. First up, some info about the Rangers suing the student newspaper that broke this story. [United States of Hockey]
  • Next up, Peters provides a helpful overview of the competition between NCAA and CHL teams to recruit talented players to their respective leagues. A very good read to understand the complexity of the recruitment process. [United States of Hockey]
  • Former Colorado Avalanche enforcer Scott Parker gave a lengthy two-part interview to Mile High Hockey that, amongst many other issues, provides some fascinating insights into “the Code” in hockey when Parker discusses Todd Bertuzzi’s infamous attack on Steve Moore. [Mile High Hockey: Part I and Part II]
  • The interview drew a number of responses from the hockey blogosphere. Jake Goldsbie had a good post about the culture of violence in hockey, including Parker’s assessment of Moore. [Backhand Shelf]
  • Will the New York Islanders move to Brooklyn? John Imossi gives five reasons why it could happen. [The Hockey Writers]
  • Greg Wyshynski explains how the NHL’s TV various deals may help reduce the possibility of a lockout. [Puck Daddy]
  • Brandon Worley has a review of Goon. If you missed it in March, I also recommend checking out Matt and Marty’s review of the film on this blog. [Defending Big D]
  • Finally, some very sad news: Jessica Ghawi (AKA Jessica Redfield), a hockey blogger and aspiring sport journalist, was among those killed at the recent shooting at a Colorado movie theatre. She was known by many hockey bloggers and her passing inspired many moving tributes. RIP Jessica. [Puck Daddy; United States of Hockey]

General Sport Links

  • Penn State finally removed the statue of Joe Paterno from its campus. [TSN]
  • Dave Zirin has an interesting and persuasive argument against abolishing the Penn State football program. [Edge of Sports]
  • The NBA votes to place adverts on jerseys. Yikes. How long until the NHL follows suit? [Globe and Mail]

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]