Weekly Links: Reactions to “While the Men Watch” and reflections on hockey media; US participation rates rising; New arenas in Detroit, Edmonton, and Seattle

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.

[Note:Sorry folks, I have again been behind on these Weekly Links posts. I will continue to try to get them up each week, but please bear with me right now if they are posted somewhat irregularly.]

Hockey Links

  • There has been no shortage of reaction in the blogosphere to the CBC’s new venture, While the Men Watch, including Courtney Szto’s initial reactions and review of the show on this blog. I will do a separate roundup of these reactions, but in the meantime here are some excellent posts by Ellen Etchingham, Cassie McLellan, and Julie Veilleux respectively. [Backhand Shelf; Raw Charge; Puck Daddy]
  • Great post from Cam Charron about the monopoly on sports expertise by ex-players or entrenched media members, how it partly explains the slow uptake on advanced statistics by NHL personnel, and how the blogosphere (thankfully!) offers a wide variety of ways for fans to understand and conceptualize hockey. [Backhand Shelf]
  • Speaking of advanced statistics and new media: Please do check out Sunil Agnihotri’s excellent blog, Super Fan 2.0. His work uses sociocultural theory to examine issues related to new media and hockey fandom. As someone who is also interested in this area, I find his work fascinating and insightful. Give it a look yourself! [Super Fan 2.0]
  • Chris Peters reports that hockey participation in the US has risen to nearly 595,000, and examines some of the reasons for this increase in various areas, including sunbelt NHL markets. [United States of Hockey]
  • Daniel Wegner debunks Don Cherry’s jingoistic (and excessively pro-Ontario) rehtoric about the players needed by teams that enjoy success in the postseason. [Backhand Shelf]
  • Wayne Gretzky would like to see the Conn Smythe Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s playoff MVP, renamed after Montreal Canadiens legend Jean Beliveau. [TSN]
  • The KHL continues its global empire building, announcing plans to play regular season games at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NYC. [Puck Daddy]
  • Canadian media giant Rogers may attempt to snatch the rights to Hockey Night in Canada away from the CBC. A potentially sad day for Canada’s public broadcaster. [The Province]
  • Matt Hendricks of the Washington Capitals is the latest hockey player to support the You Can Play project, which targets homophobia in hockey. [Dump 'N Chase]
  • The World Junior Championships proved to be a cash cow for Hockey Canada and the province of Alberta, bringing in revenues of $22 million. [TSN]
  • The Red Wings press ahead with plans to build a new arena in downtown Detroit, hiring an architect to begin designs. The arena, if built, will replace the Joe Louis Arena, which opened in 1979. [Detroit News]
  • More arena news: Greg Wyshynski updates Seattle’s plans for a new hockey arena and briefly touches upon the new arena that is being constructed for the Oilers in downtown Edmonton. [Puck Daddy]
  • Jamaica has been admitted to the International Ice Hockey Federation, and is aiming to ice a team at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang. [Puck Daddy]
  • Finally, Ellen Etchingham explores “hockey’s complex relationship with booze.” A fascinating article. [Backhand Shelf]

General Sport Links

  • Hockey in Society’s Courtney Szto examines the efforts to curb HIV transmission during the 2012 Euro Cup in Poland and Ukraine. [The Rabbit Hole]
  • ESPN’s fascinating 3o for 30 documentary series is returning with a new slate of films. [Grantland]

Weekly Links: Reactions to Twitter racism against Joel Ward; Examining cultures of hitting and violence in hockey; Where in the world were NHL players born?

Where NHL players were born.

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.

Editor’s Note: Apologies for the lack of Weekly Links over the past month. It has been a very busy time personally, and I have not kept up with my posting. This Weekly Links post therefore contains some of the best reading from the past three weeks. I hope to be more diligent in my posting over the next few months!

Hockey Links

  • This is very cool: A map showing where every NHL player was born. Hover over the city and it lists the players who were born there. Am I the only one who finds the globalization of hockey a fascinating, fascinating topic? [view the map; created by @theycallmemorty; via Backhand Shelf]
  • Lots of reaction to the racist insults hurled at the Washington Capitals’ Joel Ward by Twitter users, from Harrison Mooney, Chris Peters, and Brian Floyd respectively. [Puck Daddy; United States of Hockey; SB Nation]
  • Meanwhile, Greg Ezell reflects on belonging to a Boston Bruins fan-base that is now being characterized based upon the actions of a few. [Days of Y'Orr]
  • The always thoughtful Ken Dryden discusses three hits from different eras in order to illustrate changes in hockey culture and the role of the NHL in enforcing discipline. [Globe and Mail; h/t to Luke for the link]
  • Ellen Etchingham also had a great take on the culture of hitting in the NHL. [Backhand Shelf]
  • Paul Busch with an excellent historical overview of changes in the NHL, particularly in the 1970s, which he argues established the “culture of violence” in which many of today’s NHL decision-makers (coaches, GMs, etc.) were socialized. [It's Not Part of the Game]
  • Adam Proteau with an optimistic look at the likelihood of a gay hockey player coming out in the NHL and a discussion of the You Can Play project. [The Hockey News]
  • Interesting read about the Los Angeles Kings’ attempts to market the hockey team and maintain relevance in an entertainment-saturated city. [Globe and Mail]
  • After the 2012 Women’s World Hockey Championship, in which Switzerland captured the Bronze Medal, is international women’s hockey moving closer to parity? And what steps are being taken to develop the game globally? [Globe and Mail]
  • Interesting news from the KHL. A blog post by the wife Kevin Dallman, a Canadian superstar on Barys Astana in Kazakhstan, has led to the family being kicked out of the country. Apparently the Kazakh government found the post too critical of alleged corruption in Kazakhstan. [Puck Daddy]

Weekly Links: Reaction to Duncan Keith’s Elbow on Daniel Sedin; Montreal Stars Win the CWHL’s Clarkson Cup

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

  • The Montreal Stars of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League are this year’s Clarkson Cup champions, defeating Brampton HC 4-2. But you probably already knew that from watching it live on TV or reading about it on the front page on newspapers across Canada or… oh, right. Maybe not. At least TSN2 is showing the game on tape delay. [TSN]
  • In the aftermath of Duncan Keith’s elbow to Daniel Sedin’s head, which left the Canucks winger concussed and earned the Blackhawk a five-game suspension, Cam Charron writes about the xenophobic attitudes that are still directed toward European players in popular and media discourses. [Canucks Army]
  • Kerry Fraser’s reaction to the Keith hit: “In too many situations witnessed this season, the officials have either missed the mark altogether or came up short by at least three minutes plus a game misconduct.  The judgment of the referees needs to be collectively and immediately retooled by NHL V.P. of Officiating, Terry Gregson, to conform to a higher standard that is currently being maintained by the Player Safety Committee.” [TSN]
  • Graham James was sentenced this week to two years in prison for sexually abusing players on his team, including Theoren Fleury and Sheldon Kennedy, in the 1980s and ’90s. Many, including Todd Holt, one of James’ other victims, are calling the sentence extremely inadequate. [CBC]
  • Ellen Etchingham reflects on the function and performance of hustle in hockey. [Backhand Shelf]
  • Quebec City continues its push to regain an NHL franchise, with the city announcing that an 18,000 seat arena will be built by the Fall of 2015. [Puck Daddy]
  • Very interesting article by Benjamin Wendorf on the changes in hockey helmet usage over the decades. [SB Nation]
  • A hockey parent’s perspective on change in hockey and hockey culture. [Down From the Peak]

General Sport Links

  • A story about a gay Queen’s University volleyball star who quit the team because of homophobia, but rejoined it after the team learned of his sexual orientation and completely altered its culture. [The Journal]
  • The NFL demonstrates its determination to improve player safety by suspending New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton for the 2012 season, as well as suspending other coaches, fining the team, and stripping away draft picks. This is in response to the recent revelations that the team’s defense operated on a bounty system that rewarded players for deliberately injuring opponents. [Shutdown Corner]

“If you can play, you can play”: New campaign targets homophobia in hockey

Earlier this week, the You Can Play Project launched with a PSA video that preaches acceptance for LGBT hockey players. You Can Play was co-founded by Patrick Burke, the brother of the late Brendan Burke and an activist for gay rights in sport. The organization, whose board includes Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke (father of Brendan and Patrick and gay rights advocate), has the following mission statement:

You Can Play is dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation.

You Can Play works to guarantee that athletes are given a fair opportunity to compete, judged by other athletes and fans alike, only by what they contribute to the sport or their team’s success.

You Can Play seeks to challenge the culture of locker rooms and spectator areas by focusing only on an athlete’s skills, work ethic and competitive spirit.

This project appears to have a lot of promise in challenging the homophobic locker room culture that typifies hockey. The involvement of high-profile NHLers such as Rich Nash, Duncan Keith, Claude Giroux, Daniel Alfredsson, and Dion Phaneuf should help legitimize the campaign within hockey cultures. More promising is that the organization, though currently focused on men’s hockey, is reaching out to female athletes and athletes in other sports in hopes of spreading the movement.

After the jump, check out the PSA video and some reactions from media and bloggers. Read more of this post

Weekly Links: Player safety issues; Tim Thomas continues to attract criticism; Seattle to get an NHL franchise?

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

  • Please check out Not Part of the Game, a new blog that advocates for the removal of fighting from hockey. The most recent post offers up statements from NHL enforcers, past and present, about the impact of fighting. [Not Part of the Game]
  • One suggestion for NHL player safety that is increasingly gaining traction is the reintroduction of two line passes, which would reduce the speed of the game and thus potentially the likelihood of high-speed collisions. Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma is the latest to endorse this idea. [Puck Daddy]
  • Daniel Wegner has an insightful piece about Matt Cooke and the difficulty – but possibility – of changing one’s embodied style of play to eliminate dangerous hits. [Backhand Shelf]
  • Lots of buzz this week about whether Seattle – which unveiled plans this week for a new arena partially funded with public funds – will become the newest city to gain an NHL franchise, possibly through expansion but most likely through the relocation of the Phoenix Coyotes. [Globe and Mail]
  • The Minnesota Wild have suspended a prospect on its American Hockey League affiliate, the Houston Aeros, for using a gay slur on Twitter. [Puck Daddy]
  • Tim Thomas continues to attract criticism for refusing to discuss his controversial political beliefs. [Boston.com]
  • Sean Gordon argues that dirty play is “alive and well” in today’s NHL. [Globe and Mail]
  • ACTRA is claiming that Budweiser exploited the real-life performers/beer league hockey players who appeared in its famous Super Bowl commercial. Budweiser is claiming that signing the performers to union contracts would have “eliminated the surprise” of the commercial. [Puck Daddy]
  • National Geographic will be featuring Andrew Ference of the Boston Bruins in a 10-part  feature on his environmental activism. [Backhand Shelf]
  • Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis criticizes NBC’s coverage of NHL games. [Ted's  Take]

General Sport Links

  • Great post from Nathan Kalman-Lamb reflecting on his experiences as a striking worker at York University and the labour struggle of NBA players this past Fall. [Nathan Kalman-Lamb]
  • Courtney Szto weighs in on the announcement that Abbotsford, BC will be the latest city to feature a Lingerie Football League team. [The Rabbit Hole]
  • Human Rights Watch, a global lobbying group, is asking the International Olympic Committee to consider disallowing Saudi Arabia from competing in the Olympics due to the country’s complete lack of support for women’s sport. [Globe and Mail]

Weekly Links: ESPN Ignores Hockey Deaths, Fans Fight Back; 2011 Was the Year of Hockey Concussions; Economic Impact of World Junior Championships

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

  • ESPN caused a furor amongst hockey fans by not including any hockey players on its tribute to sport figures who passed away in 2011. During its Year in Review Sports Center program, ESPN failed to mention the deaths of Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien, Wade Belak, or the KHL’s Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team. Greg Wyshynski had a good reaction to the ESPN program. [Puck Daddy]
  • As did Travis Hughes, who also examines the relative lack of US mainstream media attention given to hockey in contrast with the thriving hockey blogosphere. [SB Nation]
  • Meanwhile, a fan post on Broad Street Hockey, the Philadelphia Flyers’ SBN blog, has become an unofficial online tribute to all the hockey figures who passed away in 2011. Hockey fans contributed their individual knowledge to produce this collective and comprehensive tribute. [Broad Street Hockey]
  • It sounds like ESPN heard the complaints: Pierre LeBrun reported on Twitter that an updated version of the program will be aired and will include hockey players in its tribute. [@Real_ESPNLeBrun]
  • Good story on the challenges facing the Canadian Women’s Hockey League as it struggles to attract fans. Obviously this is a topic that Courtney and I both feel strongly about. [Globe and Mail]
  • Bruce Arthur with a terrific, but worrisome, post about Sidney Crosby: “Sidney Crosby played just 10 games in 2011. . . . And we were left to wonder if Sidney Crosby would ever be quite the same again.” [National Post]
  • Ryan Lambert with a good post about the reporting of hockey concussions, in reaction to Brian Burke’s admission that Colby Armstrong should not have hidden his concussion and continued to play. [Backhand Shelf]
  • Bruce Dowbiggen’s list of 2011′s biggest stories contains some interesting analysis on the sale of MLSE to Bell/Rogers, Sidney Crosby’s concussion, the emergence of long-form sports reporting such as that on Grantland, and other interesting sports media tidbits. [Globe and Mail]
  • This is a few months old, but still interesting: in his forward to Paul Henderson’s book How Hockey Explains Canada, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is very forthcoming about his hockey fandom and experience. Hockey has, at times, been featured in Conservative Party adverts or other PR. [Vancouver Sun]
  • The IIHF World Junior Championships is projected to bring $80 million into the host cities of Calgary and Edmonton. Take this with a grain of salt as, for a variety of reasons, economic impact assessments of large sports events are often overly optimistic about the revenue generated. [Globe and Mail]
  • Eric Lindros, who retired because of concussions, believes that the speed of the game due to post-lockout rule changes has made hockey more dangerous. [SLAM! Sports]
  • Stu Hackel reports on the NHL’s “awful month” for concussions. So far this season 64 players have suffered concussions. [SI.com]
  • The corporate sponsorship of NHL jerseys inches closer to reality, as the Montreal Canadiens become the latest team to place adverts on their practice jerseys. [Puck Daddy]
  • The Torontoist names hockey homophobia as one of its “Villains of 2011.” The article gives a brief overview of the various ways in which homophobia intersected with hockey in the past calendar year. [Torontoist, via @HockeyAgainstH8]

General Sport Links

  • Fantastic article about Venus With Muscles, a new book by David L. Chapman and Patricia Vertinsky that examines historical popular portrayals of muscular women. [Brain Pickings]
  • Interesting post about Twitter is reshaping media, including sports media, and opening up new opportunities for writers. [Outkick the Coverage, via Puck Daddy]

Weekly Links: Patrick Burke’s Fight Against Homophobia; Georges Laraque and Dick Pound on PEDs in the NHL

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

  • Don Cherry was offered an honourary degree from Royal Military College, but declined the offer after at least one faculty member severely criticized the offer. Unfortunately I was on the road and very busy when this story broke, so could not get into the matter in any depth, but it’s an interesting topic – especially around issues of free speech and the politics of honourary degrees. [Globe and Mail]
  • Lots of interesting recent commentary about the potential (likely?) performance-enhancing drug (PED) problem in the NHL. Puck Daddy reviewed excerpts from the autobiography of ex-NHLer Georges Laraque, in which he calls out the NHL and NHL Player’s Association for not inadequate testing for PEDs. [Puck Daddy]
  • Meanwhile, Dick Pound, the former head of the World Anti-Doping Agency who has previously criticized the NHL’s drug testing policies, weighed in on the issue. [Globe and Mail]
  • If you missed our story about efforts to erode homophobia in hockey (in which these two stories were quoted and linked), do check out the two fantastic pieces written about the activism of Patrick Burke, the son of Maple Leafs GM Brian and brother of the late Brendan Burke. [Puck Buddys and Vancouver Sun]
  • The details about the NHL’s overseas television deal. I feel that some media scholar has a thesis-in-waiting examining the NHL’s efforts to grow its brand globally. This broadcast deal is a major part of these efforts. [Globe and Mail]
  • The Ontario Hockey League takes a hard line on dangerous hits, serving up a 20-game suspension for an elbow to the head. Are such suspensions enough to curb destructive violence in hockey? [The Star]

General Sport Links

  • A damning critique of NCAA universities that prioritize “protecting the brand” over dealing with unethical or immoral behaviour in their sport programs. Upsetting stuff not just about Penn State’s attempt to sweep under the rug a sexual abuse scandal, which has now claimed the jobs of the football team’s head coach and the university’s president, but the misplaced priorities of NCAA universities. [CSN Bay Area]
  • A UK study finds that women’s sport attracts only 0.5% of all sport sponsorship, versus 61.1% for men’s sport (mixed sport accounts for the remainder). That means men’s sport receives 122 times more funding that women’s – for the visual thinkers, imagine lining up the Empire State Building (1454 feet) next to a basketball hoop (roughly 12-13 feet, to the top of the backboard) and that gives you a sense of the disparity in dollar terms. [The Guardian; h/t to Hockey in Society reader Malinda for the link]
  • An Australian field hockey player speaks about becoming the third Australian male athlete to come out of the closet. Lots of interesting stuff in this article about the masculine Australian sport culture and how straying from the heterosexual norm carries significant risks. [Sydney Morning Herald; h/t to reader Lori for the link]
  • Hockey in Society contributor Courtney Szto examines why women are so significantly underrepresented in coaching positions. [The Rabbit Hole]
  • Good piece about the payment of athletes in NCAA sport, and the tensions between the amateur ideal in sport and the mythology surrounding the American Dream. [Grantland]
  • The perspective of a CIS athlete at University of Toronto about the psychology of athletes returning early from or playing through injury. [The Varsity]

Bursting the Dam? The Slow Erosion of Hockey Homophobia

Sport, very much including hockey, is for the most part a hostile environment for people who do not conform to the dominant ideals of the given sporting culture. Especially in physical contact sports such as hockey, football, or lacrosse – in short, sports that have always been associated with and have always celebrated an aggressive and violent masculine identity – there is minimal room for players who are seen as weak, effeminate, or non-physically dominant. Such players are tolerated at best (if they possess the skill and mental fortitude to stay in the sport) and, at worst, punished with physical or psychological abuse to the point that they may consider taking their own lives.

While this is sadly a phenomenon that occurs in various walks of life (especially in high schools) where straying from the social norm is met with suspicion or hostility, most sport sociologists agree that competitive sport can be a particularly cruel environment for those who do not conform to expected codes of behaviour. This is because sport, unlike many other spheres of social life, has been extremely resistant to change, even in the face of much broader progressive social change. In the area of gay rights, sport is light years behind a North American society that has, despite a significant and ongoing resistance in many quarters, significantly shifted its attitudes toward the acceptance of LGBTQ persons.

This resistance in sport circles can be at least partly explained by sport’s history as a crucible for the sculpting of uber-masculine men (read: tough, aggressive, and heterosexual; scholars refer to this as “hypermasculinity”), and the lingering effects of this approach. Sports – especially aggressive ones – thus have been inextricably tied to a particular kind of masculine identity that dictates what is and is not acceptable behaviour for players. It creates and inside/outside dichotomy in which failure to conform to hypermasculine ideals can make an athlete an outsider and can have devastating consequences. As a result, players who fear they might not fit the hypermasculine ideal often tolerate, or even participate in, the belittling and dehumanizing of others who also do not fit this ideal – these targets typically include women and gay men. Consider just this one example, from an OutSports.com feature on former NFL player Esera Tuaolo:

Tuaolo, a 6-3, 300-pounder who could bench press a house, has to compose himself as he recounts the nasty anti-gay epithets and jokes he heard in various locker rooms in his nine-year career.  “Faggot … queer … fudge-packer … There’s a joke and it’s about anthropologists going to this tribe and it’s about them having intercourse, so they …,” Tuaolo says, his voice trailing off as he looks away, fighting tears.

“I’m pausing,” he tells HBO correspondent Bernard Goldberg, “because you just took me back, took me back to me biting my lip again.” Tuaolo would laugh at the jokes on the outside, but “inside it would be tearing me up, that I stood there and listened to it and didn’t say anything about it.”

He never does finish the joke and the incompleteness mirrors how Tuaolo felt about himself as an NFL player with a secret he dare not reveal–he was gay.

This is just one of the countless examples that illustrate the damaging consequences of sporting hypermasculinity on those who do not conform to its ideals. However, recently in hockey there have been some encouraging signs that damaging attitudes toward gay people are slowly changing. While this process is a slow one, it hopefully is like poking holes in a dam: at first the water will flow through slowly, but eventually larger cracks will develop until the whole structure collapses. After the jump, I examine some of the recent cracks that have appeared in the homophobia of hockey cultures. Read more of this post

Presentations on Hockey at North American Society for the Sociology of Sport Conference

Image from: http://nasss.org

The North American Society for the Sociology of Sport (NASSS) is the major scholarly society for sociocultural studies of sport in North America, and boasts membership from around the globe. It publishes the academic journal Sociology of Sport Journal and runs an annual conference at which scholars from around the world present their research. All of the writers for Hockey in Society are members of NASSS and have presented at its conference in recent years.

This year’s conference is in Minneapolis, MN, and runs from tomorrow until Saturday. Appropriately, given that it is taking place in the State of Hockey, the conference will feature a number of presentations about hockey. I am excited to attend as many of these presentations as I can, and will attempt to report on the most exciting and interesting research at the conclusion of the conference.

You can read the full conference programme online, but I’ve pasted abstracts for all of the hockey-related presentations below so you can get a sense of some of the sociological research currently being done on hockey. All abstracts are posted on the NASSS website, are reproduced in full on this website, and are copyright of their authors. I have removed email contact information, although this is publicly available on the NASSS website.

First up, what will undoubtedly be the worst of these presentations:

Cultural Citizenship and the New Media Consumption/Production of Televised Sport (Mark Norman, University of Toronto)

While scholars have argued that access to television broadcasts of live sport events can constitute an important aspect of cultural citizenship, this scholarly discussion has not extended to the various forms of new media through which live sport is also consumed and produced. Building upon Scherer and Whitson’s (2009) argument that public television access to Hockey Night in Canada is a matter of Canadian cultural citizenship, this paper uses data collected during the program’s 2011 Hockey Day in Canada broadcast to examine the ways in which new media, notably Twitter, are used by consumers of live sport to become producers of new media content. Through exploration of major themes that emerged on Twitter, the paper argues that new media can provide sites for collective discussion on important sociopolitical issues—and that, therefore, discussions about cultural citizenship and sport media should be extended to include access to new media communities. The implications of this argument are discussed in light of Jenkins’ (2006) research on “new knowledge communities” and the novel forms of democratic decision-making that are created up by such online collectives. In particular, the sociopolitcal implications of barriers to participation in new knowledge communities are discussed.

If that wasn’t too much of an inaccessible, academic-speak summary for you, I encourage you to read on about what will undoubtedly be some fascinating research presentations about a variety of important issues in hockey. Read more of this post

Weekly Links: Homophobia and Bullying; Grey Areas in Hockey Violence; Mandatory Visors?

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

Andrew Gadsby of Puck Buddies writes an op-ed about homophobia and bullying, in light of the tragic suicide of Jamie Hubley – an openly gay Ottawa teenager who was bullied, in part, because he chose to figure skate instead of playing hockey. A must read. RIP Jamie. [Globe and Mail]

Justin Bourne urges hockey to “accept the gray area” of hockey violence, and makes some excellent points about the ways in which sports are socially constructed: “Sports are a fairly arbitrary collections of rules. . . . It is debatable whether a rule has any fundamental value other than the value people give it. Hockey is not static and fixed: we can add and remove things from it and the only thing that really determines whether it is still ‘hockey’ is our own judgement.” [Backhand Shelf]

Despite Chris Pronger suffering a brutal eye injury on Wednesday, some members of the Philadelphia Flyers refuse to wear a visor. The phrases “too macho to wear a visor” and “longstanding stereotypes about toughness that consider visors an effete accessory” (the  latter a quotation from the New York Times) speak volumes about the culture of hockey. [Puck Daddy]

Travis Hughes believes that the NHL must impose mandatory visors, because players will never accept this condition voluntarily. [SB Nation]

A legal perspective on mandating visors – in short, it can’t be done without the buy-in of the NHL Player’s Association. [Offside: A Sports Law Blog; h/t to Spector's Hockey for the link]

Bruce Arthur argues that, love him or hate him, “Don Cherry will be missed” whenever he leaves the airwaves. Despite the fact that Hockey in Society’s output will likely be cut in half without Cherry, I can’t say I agree with Arthur. [National Post]

Just in case you think Cherry has lost his influence, Bruce Dowbiggen reminds us of his tremendous in and on the sport. [Globe and Mail]

An interesting examination of the “NHL feeder chain” – that is, where NHL players play before making the big leagues. The CHL and NCAA are first and second, followed by European professional leagues. [Puck Worlds]

This is a few years old, but Stu Hackel wrote a great piece about why the instigator rule should remain in hockey. Particularly interesting insights about the Philadelphia Flyers Stanley Cup winning teams of the 1970s, and how the Broad Street Bullies used strategic violence against opponents’ star players in order to win games. [Slap Shot]

The Manitoba Junior Hockey League suspends 14 players and the head and assistant coaches of the Neepawa Natives for hazing, and the RCMP is investigating the incident. Sadly, hazing is very common in minor hockey and strong regulation is very much needed to stamp it out. As for the name “Neepawa Natives”… how on earth has that not been changed? [CTV Winnipeg]

As details about the incident leak out, a well-argued call for police action on hazing incidents. [Buzzing the Net]

Ken Campbell wants Hockey Canada’s residency rules to change, so that children can more easily play hockey in locations other than their home area. Seriously problematic in my opinion, as it gives carte blanche to over-zealous hockey parents to frequently uproot their children in pursuit of a career in professional hockey. [The Hockey News]

More arena politics: Edmonton City Council votes in favour of the Oilers’ downtown arena proposal, because the politicans “believe that other businesses will sprout up quickly in the area around the arena”. [SB Nation]

Finally, the NHL continues its efforts to emulate the NBA’s globalization strategies by signing a major European TV deal. [SB Nation]