Weekly Links: Fallout from the Orr-Parros Fight; Introduction of hybrid icing; Hockey Canada enrolment; and more

Source: Fighting for Stanley

Source: Fighting for Stanley

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!

  • Fighting and violence continues to be the hot topic after Habs forward George Parros was seriously injured in a fight on opening night. James Mirtle questions the role of designated fighters and the purpose of staged fights. [Globe and Mail]
  • Regardless of how many injuries are caused by useless fights, there are still those that feel it has a place in the game. Canucks Army provides counter-arguments to question why the league continues to support fighting.  [Canucks Army]
  • Tampa Bay Lightning GM, and all-round hockey legend, Steve Yzerman took a strong stance against fighting, arguing for a game misconduct for players who fight. Yzerman questions how the league is trying to reduce hits to the head, but still allows fighting. [Globe and Mail]

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Weekly Links: Overcoming Social Expectations of non-Aggression in Women’s Hockey; NCAA and KHL Look to Grow Their Global Economic Footprints; Why is NHL Fighting on the Decline?

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

  • Easily the best thing I’ve read this week: a first person (dare I say ethnographic?) account of the socially engrained expectations of femininity that female hockey players must overcome in order to play the game more aggressively, more assertively, and more pleasurably. Definitely give this a read. Hell, give the whole blog a read because everything I’ve looked at so far is fantastic. [A Theory of Ice; h/t to @dagmar27 for the link]
  • The number of NHL fights are down this season. A couple bloggers this week delved into some of the reasons behind this decline. First, Greg Wyshynski suggests that factors such as the shifting role of the enforcer, the smaller number of “dance partners” prepared to drop the gloves, the reduction of downtime between stoppages in play, Brendan Shanahan’s stricter enforcement of supplemental discipline, and the growing awareness about concussions and brain injury. [Puck Daddy]
  • Next up, Justin Bourne suggests that a rise in the quality of play and a reduction in fighting in the minor and junior hockey leagues has meant that many players coming through those systems have not had to fight their whole careers. In other words, the AHL is more like the NHL and less like Slap Shot, in that skilled players likely do not fight in the same way they were pressured to a decade or more ago. [Backhand Shelf]
  • A Globe and Mail editorial takes a very strong stance against fighting, in light of Colton Orr’s demotion from the NHL: “It is morally bankrupt to ask Colton Orr ever to fight again. After 99 NHL fights, he is at heightened risk of lifelong brain damage.” [Globe and Mail]
  • Ken Campbell with an excellent look at the “illogical pro-fighting stance” of Brian Burke. [The Hockey News; h/t to Hockey in Society reader Peter for the link]
  • It appears that the 2013 Winter Classic may be hosted at Michigan University’s 100,000+ capacity football stadium, after Yahoo! Sports broke the story that the NHL and the university have been in advanced discussions about this possibility. [Puck Daddy]
  • Speaking of unconventional hockey venues, plans are afoot to potentially host a hockey game on a US Navy aircraft carrier. That is mind-boggling in so many ways. This reminds me that I really need to get revisit to my plans to explore the relationship between hockey and militarism. These posts are still very much in the cards, they’ve just been pushed to the backburner the past few months. [SB Nation]
  • Interesting interview with the NCAA’s Executive Director of College Hockey, Paul Kelly. The NCAA is trying to increase its appeal as an alternative to junior hockey, although inter-league politics complicate the process. The NCAA is also seeking to grow its brand in Canada through increased television exposure and even the possibility of a Frozen Four (the NCAA’s championship tournament] being hosted in Toronto. [Arctic Ice Hockey]
  • If you look past some of the stereotypes about Russia and the presentation of sensational examples of how business can be conducted in the country, this article has some fascinating insight into the politics, economics, and ambition of the Kontinental Hockey League – including the fact that it envisages by 2015 itself as a 60-team league spread out across Europe and Asia. [The Star]
  • US national team superstar Angela Ruggiero has retired from hockey and will focus on her work with the International Olympic Committee Athlete’s Commission, in which role she will hopefully be able to increase the IOC’s support for women’s hockey. [Women's International Ice Hockey]
  • The New Jersey Devils are aggressively and innovatively using new media to grow the team’s popularity. Interesting look at one of the many ways in which new media is changing the landscape of professional sports. [Sports Business Journal, via Puck Daddy]
  • The NHL Player’s Association rejected the NHL’s plan for realignment. Ken Campbell explains how this is a political tactic in advance of upcoming labour negotiations between the union and the league. [The Hockey News]
  • Cam Charron, who like me is also a contributor at Nucks Misconduct, has a humorous and insightful breakdown of Don Cherry’s statements on last week’s Coach’s Corner. [Legion of Blog]
  • James Mirtle with an interesting look at the rise of Americans in the NHL, and the reasons behind this increase. [Globe and Mail]
  • Future bidders on the World Junior Championships will require “deep pockets, big arenas” as the tournament’s profit-making potential continues to rise. [CBC Sports]
  • Daniel Wegner looks at how the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks are making the controversy around Brad Marchand’s suspension worse by waging an ongoing war of words about it. [Backhand Shelf]

Brian Burke Laments Decline of the Enforcer, Fears that “Rats” Will Dominate Hockey: What Does This Tell Us About Hockey Culture?

Brian Burke, the General Manager for the Toronto Maple Leafs, has never been one to shy away from the media spotlight or to hide his emotions. Nor has Burke made any secret about his view that a good NHL team requires a solid dose of toughness on its roster, famously declaring upon taking the Maple Leafs GM job in 2008:

We require, as a team, proper levels of pugnacity, testosterone, truculence and belligerence. That’s how our teams play. . . . Our teams play a North American game. We’re throwbacks. It’s black-and-blue hockey. It’s going to be more physical hockey here than people are used to.

Burke backed up his words in the following years, trading away a number of skilled players and bringing in noted enforcers such as Colton Orr and Mike Brown in an effort to create a tougher on-ice team. Today, after Colton Orr was sent to the Maple Leafs’ minor league team, Burke weighed in on the current state of the game and lamented the decline of enforcers in hockey.

After the jump, I look at Burke’s statements and consider what they say about hockey’s culture of aggressive masculine behaviour, “the Code” that informally governs how players are expected to conduct themselves, the widely held assumption that players can police their on-ice actions better than the NHL can through suspensions or fines, and the need to disconnect an enforcer’s personal attributes from his on-ice role.

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