Hockey Research at the 2014 “Putting it on Ice” Conference

Starting tomorrow in London, ON, hockey researchers and academics will gather at Western University for the fourth Putting it on Ice Conference. This conference, which was last held in Halifax, NS in 2012, is exclusively focused on scholarship related to hockey, whether that be sociological, political, historical, media, literary or economic research. Not surprisingly, there are lots and lots of fascinating papers being presented this year that align with the interests and focus of this blog – and I am happy to say that I will be in attendance to hear them all. While I don’t have space to summarize every paper that will be on the program, after the jump I have copied and pasted the titles and abstracts of just some of the papers I am particularly interested in – but I am sure that many other papers will also catch my interest and stimulate my intellect! You can check out the full program here and the abstracts here.

Full disclosure: I am co-presenting a paper, with Tobias Stark from Linnaeus University in Sweden, which for the sake of interest I am including in the selection of abstracts below.

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Weekly Links: NHL playoff violence; IIHF re-launches a European Champions League; NHL expansion speculation; 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!

  • The series between the Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers is getting violent, with Brandon Prust earning a suspension for breaking Derek Stepan’s jaw with an illegal check and Dan Carcillo getting a 10-game suspension for aggression against a linesman while trying to get after Prust. Ken Campbell weighs in by criticizing the NHL for its disciplinary standards tacit condoning of violence: “The NHL and its culture of violence is every bit as culpable for all of this as the perpetrators were.” [The Hockey News]
  • Despite (or bolstered by?) the violence that characterizes seemingly every NHL playoffs, TV ratings in the US are doing well. [Puck Daddy]
  • Interesting read about advanced stats in hockey compared to the power of narratives to shape perception. Definitely worth a read. [Puckology]

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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]

Roundtable: Issues and Controveries at the Sochi Olympics

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.

The Olympic Games are, despite the Olympic Movement’s laughable claims about the separation of sport and politics, highly political events. Sometimes this politicization is obvious (e.g. Berlin, 1936; Mexico City, 1968; Moscow, 1980; Los Angeles, 1984; etc.) and other times it is more subtle – but every Olympics is hosted, supported, and contested by various actors seeking diverse political aims.

This year’s Winter Olympics, currently ongoing in Sochi, Russia, is one of the more overtly politicized Games in recent memory. Among the controversial political issues surrounding these Games are Russia’s introduction of repressive anti-gay laws, the massive hosting costs of over $50 billion dollars and the related allegations of corruption, the security concerns over terrorist attacks, President Vladimir Putin’s use of the Games as an empire-building exercise, the culling of stray dogs from Sochi streets, and the exploitation of labour in the construction of venues. And this does not even touch upon the sports themselves, supposedly the raison d’être for the Olympic Games!

Given the many complex and controversial sociopolitical issues surrounding the Sochi Games – and given the prominence of hockey as a marquee event at the Winter Olympics, as well as a form of soft diplomacy by Putin’s regime – it is timely for Hockey in Society contributors to weigh in on a variety of hockey- and sport-related topics. After the jump, five contributors share their views on a diversity of topics: LGBTQ rights at the Sochi Games; the hockey-related political machinations of Putin and Canada’s Stephen Harper; Canada’s increasingly hypercompetitive emphasis on its Olympic medal haul; the Games as an opportunity for hockey to evolve; and the question of whether women’s hockey will remain on the Olympic program.

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Weekly Links: History of the USSR’s involvement in Winter Olympics; TSN documentary on sport and homophobia; Fallout from brawl between Canucks and Flames

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 pre-Olympics exhibition in Russia explores the USSR’s involvement in the Winter Olympics, including its significance to the Soviet regime and the political wrangling it entailed. One fascinating tidbit is how the Soviets shifted from playing bandy to playing ice hockey in order to be more competitive in international competition. [The Moscow News; h/t to Joe Pelletier (@HockeyLegends) for the link]
  • TSN is airing a three-part series called ReOrientation, hosted by Aaron Ward, that looks at the impact of homophobia and gay rights in sports. Adam Proteau gives a favourable review, arguing that the show is “another indication of a trip down a road we as a society aren’t turning back from.” [The Hockey News]
  • One unique public good in Toronto is its public skating/hockey rinks, which are maintained by the city and free to use for all. Marcus Gee tours 10 rinks in one day to give an insight into their environment and use by locals. [Globe and Mail]

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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]

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Weekly Links: NHL Expansion and Realignment, NHL Player’s Responses to Russia’s Anti-Gay Laws, Glendale’s Service Cuts, Hockey Night in Canada Negotiations and More

Seattle, Washington (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Seattle, Washington (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

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!

  • Todd Little explores the potential of expanding the NHL teams to 32, including an excellent assessment of Seattle, Quebec City and Portland as legitimate options. [Litter Box Cats]
  • A good, in-depth look at the implications of Russia’s anti-gay laws on NHL players at the Olympics and the expectations for athletes at the Games, including discussion of recent comments made by NHL stars Henrik Lundqvist and Henrik Zetterberg. [United States of Hockey]
  • Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk, when asked about gay rights, replied “I’m an orthodox, and that says it all”. The Russian Orthodox church strongly supports anti-gay legislation, which will lead to more questions about Datsyuk’s position regarding homosexuality. It’s also an interesting time in the state of Michigan, which is currently debating the issue of gay marriage. [SB Nation]

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