Deconstructing the Jersey Toss

"The medium is the message." (1964)

“The medium is the message.” (1964)

The jersey of any sports team, professional or not, holds a history, a story, and many different meanings. The message that resonates with any sports jersey is different depending on who is involved in the communication process. To some, the jersey simply designates who plays on what team. For others, a jersey holds significant, personal meaning which can be immersed in a narrative to build and share.

During two embarrassing losses on home ice this past season, two Edmonton Oilers jerseys were tossed by fans on to the ice. Both were acts of frustration and disapproval towards the club and their miserable performance. Many understood why the fans threw the jersey, while others, including Oilers goaltender Ben Scrivens, questioned why the jersey was used as the medium to send a message.

“I’m from (Edmonton). You’re not just disrespecting guys in the room you’re disrespecting guys who wore the jersey before us … Messier, Gretzky, they all take pride in wearing that jersey. You’re a fan, you get to say and do whatever you want, call me whatever name you want, but when it comes to that logo, that’s a sacred thing for us. It’s disheartening for me to see our fans treat it that way.” (Canoe.ca)

The crumpled jersey on the ice for all to see was significant because it was an extreme response to a poor performance. It brought to light the narratives, history and meaning we each have as fans of the team. And, aside from the disrespect to the past players as Scrivens pointed out, the toss of the jersey also challenged and disrupted the traditional communication channels sports fans have established with their team. Read more of this post

Weekly Links: Evgeni Malkin’s journey to the NHL; The impact of HockeyFights.com; Critiquing MLSE’s military appreciation night

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!

Editor’s note: Not surprisingly, most of the hockey world is focused on the Winter Olympics currently underway in Sochi, Russia. However, there is still great hockey writing being done about non-Olympics issues. This edition of the Weekly Links is thus divided into two posts: today, we post non-Olympics links and on Sunday we will publish a Weekly Links post exclusively devoted to writing about the Olympics. We hope you enjoy both posts!

  • A really interesting article by J. Brady McCollough on Evgeni Malkin’s journey from Magnitogorsk, Russia to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the NHL. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]
  • An interesting and balanced look at HockeyFights.com, the website that catalogs and celebrates fighters in the NHL and beyond. [Grantland]
  • Is the NHL ready to announce an expansion franchise in Seattle following the Sochi Olympics? [Raw Charge]

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Weekly Links: Sexism in hockey media; the long-term impact of fighting and concussions; Markham and Edmonton arena news; 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 read on sexism in hockey media and blogging. Puck Daddy’s Jen Neale has assembled a panel of 10 female hockey bloggers, who discuss a range of related and insightful questions. Definitely worth a read. [Puck Daddy]
  • Interesting story as two Puck Buddys writers and Washington Capitals fans use social media app Grindr in an attempt to determine if many gay men attend Capitals game. [Puck Buddys]
  • Jeff MacGregor with a persuasive argument about fighting in the NHL. Among the many great lines: “The idea that fighting in hockey somehow curbs greater, dirtier violence committed with sticks or skates has never had any empirical support. There’s no evidence that it’s a safety valve — or even that the game needs one.” [ESPN]
  • Meanwhile, Seth Wickersham has a balanced look at the Montreal Canadiens’ George Parros and his views on fighting in hockey. Another excellent piece. [ESPN]

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Weekly Links: Rogers secures NHL broadcasting rights; Former NHL players file lawsuit against the NHL; Referee abuse; Varlamov officially charged; and more

 

Source: CBC Sports

Source: CBC Sports

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!

  • Rogers Communications signed a 12 year, $5.2 billion agreement with the NHL for the league’s broadcasting and multimedia rights. Hockey Night in Canada will still be available, but CBC will lose significant control over the content that airs. [National Post]
  • Jonathan Willis examines what the new deal between Rogers and the NHL means for Don Cherry. [Cult of Hockey]
  • More details about the agreement and what it means for Sportsnet and TSN can be found here: [A Rouge Point]
  • Sean Fitz-Gerald looks into what the new broadcast deal means for league expansion into Quebec City. [National Post]
  • What does the new NHL TV deal mean for the viewers? Robert Macleod looks into how the deal will impact cable costs in different Canadian markets. [Globe and Mail]
  • Ten former NHL players filed a lawsuit against the NHL, claiming the league did not do enough to protect players from concussions. Included in the ten are Rick Vaive and Gary Leeman. There are reports that 200 more former NHL players have also joined the lawsuit. [Globe and Mail]
  • Sean McIndoe provides an excellent summary of the concussion lawsuit against the NHL. [Grantland]
  • TSN legal correspondent Eric Macramalla provides some in-depth analysis of the case, including what sort of evidence the players will need to provide. [TSN]
  • Former NHL player Brian Sutherby, who continues to live with post-concussion syndrome, gives some insight into his experience with head injuries and the lawsuit filed against the NHL. [OilersNation]
  • A 14-year old boy from Quebec is suing Hockey Canada and other minor leagues for a concussion he sustained in a pee-wee hockey game in 2010. [CBC]
  • Greg Wyshynski reports that the abuse of officials (referees and linesmen) in minor hockey, often cases in which parents or coaches are berating teenagers, is driving young people away from the job. It remains to be seen whether leagues will take steps to protect their young officials and retain their participation in this role. [Puck Daddy]
  • Colorado Avalanche netminder Semyon Varlamov has been charged with third-degree assault by the Denver District Attorney. Varlamov was arrested in October after his girlfriend filed a complaint with the police. [SB Nation]
  • Eric T. responds to some of the criticism hockey analytics has received from around the NHL. Included are some useful links to better understand the role of data analytics in hockey. [Broadstreet Hockey]
  • An interesting interview by Dave Cunning with Jonathan Cheechoo, a former NHL superstar with the San Jose Sharks who is now playing for Medvescak Zagreb in the KHL. [Backhand Shelf]
  • New Jersey Devils forward Jaromir Jagr continues to set NHL records at the age of 41. Here’s hoping he musters up a few more years. [Mayor’s Manor]

Fan Involvement in a Sports Team’s Decision Making

 Professional sports team owners and management strive to draw and retain fans by assembling a quality product in order to sell tickets and merchandise. There are numerous factors that influence how well a professional sports team draws fans: on-ice success, local economy, local sports market, demographics, to name a few. It’s crucial for teams, regardless of the external factors, to connect with fans and give them a reason to continue watching and attending events.

With the development of technology, including the rapid ascension of new interactive platforms and tools, the demand of the fans have evolved. This in turn has put the onus on sports team and leagues to adapt and accommodate to their relationship with fans. One recent study (Hyatt, C., et al, 2013) examined this new breed of fans and provided recommendations on how professional sports teams can implement new ways of drawing and retaining fans, who have evolved as a result of video games and fantasy league sports.

The authors suggest fans be given the chance to vote on managerial decisions pertaining to their hockey team. The study provides an analysis of the fan-management models employed by the Seattle Sounders FC of Major League Soccer and Ebbsfleet United soccer club to draw out the pros and cons of fan managed teams as well as the lessons learned that could be used by other teams. The study emphasizes the importance of allowing fans to participate this way and points to how fans have evolved because of the technology available to them.

The implementation of our model is a step to engage big league sport consumers in a way that will strengthen the team-fan bond, help fill the seats, and generate more revenue in an era where maintaining attendance numbers has proven to be a challenge. (Hyatt et al, p. 201).

Having an opinion on the managerial decisions of a sports team is an important, engaging part of being a fan. There never is a dull moment for fans, as the nature of professional sports is extremely volatile. As teams win and lose, as players succeed and struggle, as management makes decisions, there is constant discussion about the game. Providing fans the opportunity to have an input on how team’s are managed would be great, but unfortunately there are a few flaws in the model suggested by the authors of this study. Read more of this post

Weekly Links: KHL Expansion; Habs Legend Comments on Hockey Violence; Avalanche Goalie Arrested; Research on Concussions Among Youth; New Media in Sports Journalism

Source: The Province

Source: The Province

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 KHL is expanding to Finland, absorbing Helsinki-based club Jokerit from the SM-Liiga. This is a major step in the KHL’s expansion beyond the border of the former-USSR. [Puck Daddy]
  • USA Hockey is hosting the Try Hockey for Free Day on November 2, 2013. The program is encouraging youth aged 4-9 to visit a participating rink and learn more about the game. [USA Hockey]
  • Larry Robinson discusses the state of the game today and lack of respect players have for one another. Robinson has the option of re-joining the San Jose Sharks as an associate coach, but has yet to re-commit. [Mercury News]
  • Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov has been arrested for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend. He has since been released on bail and will stay with the Avalanche for now. [Denver Post] Read more of this post

Weekly Links: Sochi Olympics news; NHL stars on Russia’s anti-gay laws; Leetch and Burke join NHL’s Department of Player Safety

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!

  • Interesting read about kids’ hockey and skill development, as the Edmonton Minor Hockey Association is expanding access to ice time for children’s teams by mandating half-rink practices for teams. [Oilers Nation]
  • While problematic, the film Goon was a popular success amongst many hockey fans. Jay Baruchel is now working on writing a sequel and hopes to have it in production within a year. [Montreal Gazette]
  • Blogger Travis Yost, who has provided detailed reporting on the finances of the Ottawa Senators under the ownership of Eugene Melnyk, had his posts removed from the website Hockeybuzz – apparently as the result of the site being hacked. No responsibility has been proven, but Melynk is bizarrely and tangentially connected to the hack. [SB Nation]
  • The NHL has added two members to its Department of Player Safety: former NHL star Brian Leetch and former Philadelphia Flyers scout and You Can Play founder Patrick Burke. [Puck Daddy]

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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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Weekly Links: Boycotting the Sochi Games?; Ratner to redevelop Islanders’ arena; Devils get new ownership; Rick Rypien’s legacy

After a one year hiatus, Hockey in Society’s Weekly Links post returns! 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!

  • Given the dangerous homophobic climate in Russia and the anti-gay legislation passed by Russian lawmakers, should hockey players and other athletes boycott the Sochi Games in 2014? Pierre Martin says that male hockey players should boycott the tournament while other athletes should attend. [Toronto Star]

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Challenges Facing the Hockey Analytics Community

Edmonton Oilers' Bill Ranford

Hockey analytics is continuing to gain prominence, both as a tool for professional teams to make on-ice decisions and for fans who want to better understand the game. The online fan community has really been the driver of hockey analytics as they seek to answer questions and contribute to the information and knowledge that surrounds the game.

But with all the great advances there have been in hockey analytics, some challenges are surfacing that could potentially slow down the online community that drives it. I’ve tried to outline the few that I’ve noticed and that other knowledge-based communities have faced. I also reached out to a few members of the online hockey analytics community and embedded their responses.

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