Happy Birthday Šatan; or, How Should a Legend Retire?

The only pet I ever had was a small water turtle. I got it in the summer of 2002, and its name was Šarky (read as Shar-ke), as it was the most popular name in Slovakia at that time. You could hear it in phrases like “Šarky is God!” or “Šarky to the castle!” (in Slovakia this latter phrase doesn’t indicate any historic sightseeing, but becoming the country’s president). Šarky is not a regular given name, but it is the official nickname of Miroslav Šatan, a retired Slovak ice hockey player, who captained the national team to one gold, two silvers and a bronze in four World Championships, won the Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009 and never really said a “proper” goodbye to the ice hockey scene. On October 22, Šarky celebrated his 40th birthday and all of the Slovak media celebrated with him. However, you could sense some uncertainty about the recent position Šatan is occupying in the minds of Slovak sports fans.

If the Slovak ice hockey in the era of its independence (which means since 1993) was to have a synonym in a person of a single player, then it definitely is Miroslav Šatan. He played with the senior men’s team since 1992, moreover, the very next year he was also drafted to the NHL. As just a 19 year-old lad he was part of the Slovak national team, which after the split of the former ice-hockey empire – Czechoslovakia – was demoted to the lowest ‘C’ division. However, it took just 10 years and Šatan, as the team’s captain, was raising the top divisions’ World Championship trophy above his head. Maybe he was not as iconic a player back in those times as other notable Slovaks, Žigmund Pálffy, Peter Bondra or Pavol Demitra, but he definitely was considered to be the one defining the style Slovaks played.

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Weekly Links: Lack of female analysts in NHL broadcasts; Player contracts impacted by sanctions on Russia; International Champions League; ECHL-CHL merger finalized; and more

Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City, Missouri

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!

  • Katie Flynn of The Score looks into the changes to the Sportsnet hockey broadcast team, and the lack of female analysts. [Pension Plan Puppets]
  • The economic sanctions placed on Russia by the US, Canada and Europe following their annexation of Crimea may have an impact on future player contracts. The NHLPA is advising player agents that contracts signed with KHL clubs may violate the current sanctions, possibly resulting in financial or criminal punishments. [TSN]

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Weekly Links: Moore-Bertuzzi case yet to be settled; New York Islanders sold; Canucks holding hockey camps in China; Ideas for an international champions league, and more

Source: New York Islanders

Source: New York Islanders

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 lawsuit filed by former NHL player Steve Moore against Todd Bertuzzi stemming from an on-ice incident has yet to be settled. The case was reported to be closed this week, but there are conflicting messages from both parties. [TSN]
  • It’s hard to believe that the Moore-Bertuzzi incident happened ten years ago. One fan re-lives the game and reflects on the build-up leading up to the attack, the “code” and the ensuing fallout. [Canucks Army]
  • As more and more concussion-related lawsuits are filed against the NHL, a federal panel in the US has ruled that they be consolidated into one lawsuit. [New York Times]
  • Charles Wang has sold the New York Islanders to a group led by Jonathan Ledecky and Scott Malkin. [Islanders Insight]
  • A look into some of the barriers to hockey analytics, including the general attitude of those knowledgeable and experienced with advanced stats towards newcomers. [Upper Body Inquiry]

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Mark Popovic, KHL player and former NHLer, on hockey culture and labour vs. passion in a pro career

This is one in a series of posts in which I will report back from The Hockey Conference that I attended in London, ON from June 18-20, 2014. As I did not digitally record any of the proceedings, any direct quotations may contain slight inaccuracies – however, I have endeavored to capture the essence of the commentary and to reproduce it as accurately as possible.

The first keynote of the conference featured Mark Popovic, a former NHL player who played 81 games over five seasons with the Anaheim Ducks and Atlanta Thrashers, and current player with Croatian club Zagreb Medvescak of the KHL. For reference, you can view his career stats here.

The keynote took a unique form, as conference organizer and Western University sport historian Dr. Don Morrow conducted a one-on-one interview in the vein of the popular Inside the Actor’s Studio television program. Popovic was gracious and forthcoming with his answers, although, as will be discussed, there was a contradiction in his views on the labour process in hockey that was not adequately resolved during the session. Nonetheless, Popovic provided great insight into the life of a professional hockey player and some of the struggles, challenges and rewards of this career. After the jump, I review three of the interesting themes that emerged from this session: hockey as labour, players as commodities, and the expression of passion and love for the sport. I conclude by briefly attempting to explore the apparent contradictions between the first two topics and the latter one. Read more of this post

Weekly Links: New lawsuit filed by former players; Growth of hockey analytics; CHL/ECHL merger; and more!

Source: NHL.com

Source: NHL.com

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!

  • With the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs hiring the league’s first ever woman as a paid assistant coach, Ryan Kennedy wonders if and when we might see a female coach in the NHL. [The Hockey News]
  • A good look at sexism in hockey and fans’ increasing dissatisfaction with practices that objectify or marginalize women. [Hockey Broad]
  • A group of former NHL players are suing the league, accusing the league of marketing and profiting from extreme violence. [TSN]
  • With the recent hirings of Tyler Dellow and Eric Tulsky by NHL clubs, the online stats community is starting to get recognized for their work tracking and analyzing data. [SB Nation] [CBS Sports]
  • A look into the progress of hockey analytics, how it impacts the way we watch the game, and the future of the field. [Pension Plan Puppets]

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Weekly Links: AHL Rule Changes; Decline of the KHL; Push for a CHL Players Union; Birth of the NHL; and more

Source: Tend the Farm

Source: Tend the Farm

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 American Hockey League is implementing rule changes for the 2014-2015 season. Players will now be penalized for playing without a helmet and the overtime format will feature a 3-on-3 component. [Puck Daddy]
  • With two teams contracting and fewer players making the move to Russia, Greg Wyshynski looks at the gradual decline of the KHL and what it could mean for the NHL. [Puck Daddy]
  •  A look into the history of how the NHL was started. An excellent piece. [Greatest Hockey Legends]
  •  Following the Blackhawks signings of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews to multi-year contracts, a snapshot of some of the high player salaries in the NHL. [CBC Sports]
  • Nashville Predators forward Rich Clune opened up about his battle with alcoholism. [Rich Clune Show]
  • Ryo Hashimoto of Sapporo, Japan is attending the Columbus Blue Jackets training camp. Hashimoto is a member of the Japanese National Hockey program, and looks to be one of the first players from there to make it to the NHL. [The Score]

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Weekly Links: NHL Draft reaction; Mike Fisher’s support for Hobby Lobby; Is the KHL a no longer a threat to 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. Please check out some of the great writing that is happening in the hockey media and blogosphere!

  • Great read on the Skillz Black Aces, a Toronto boy’s team mostly composed of black youth, which had three of its former players drafted in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. [Color of Hockey]
  • Speaking of the NHL Draft, Steve Dangle interviewed hockey agents Aaron Schwartz and Darryl Wolski about their work, young players, and the Draft. [Leafs Nation]
  • Chris Johnston argues that, in light of signings of KHL players like Leo Komorov by NHL teams and the suspension of some teams, the KHL is not a threat to the NHL as a league/business. [Sportsnet]
  • The amount of the lawsuit brought by Steve Moore against Todd Bertuzzi and the Vancouver Canucks, stemming from Bertuzzi’s 2004 attack on Moore, has increased based on expectations of future earnings. [Puck Daddy]
  • Mike Fisher tweeted his support of Hobby Lobby’s recent US Supreme Court victory. While his stance is controversial, Jason Kay argues that hockey fans should be supportive of his right to express his political views in a public forum. [The Hockey News]
  • An interview with Sean Ramjagsingh, one of the producers for EA Sports’ NHL 15, about the upcoming video game, which will be released in September. [Last Word on Sports]
  • With rumours swirling about NHL expansion to Seattle, and now Wayne Gretzky’s involvement in a potential ownership group, Gretzky’s agent has denied that he will be involved. [The Score]