Weekly Links: Sochi reactions and news; Marginalization of female hockey fans; Buffalo building massive downtown hockey complex

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!

  • I just discovered the blog Puckology this week, and it’s pretty great! This article from Clare Austin gives an insightful commentary of how women hockey fans are rendered invisible in marketing. [Puckology]
  • New Englander Charles Pierce reflects on a lifetime of Montreal Canadiens fandom, including comments on Habs legends Jean Beliveau and Ken Dryden. [Grantland]
  • The Ontario Hockey League is stepping up its compensation package for its players, which is huge news. Check out Vicky Grygar’s great piece on this topic that was published on this blog last year for another take. [Sportsnet]
  • In light of Nicklas Backstrom’s failed drug test, which caused him to miss the men’s Gold Medal game between Sweden and Canada, Justin Bourne discusses prescription drug (ab)use in hockey. [Backhand Shelf]
  • Evgeni Malkin and Alex Ovechkin were apparently extremely frustrated with the management of Russia’s Olympic team in Sochi. Some really interesting commentary on the politics of the KHL and Russian hockey. [Pittsburgh TribLive]

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Olympic Dissonance

Games Against a Messy Background

from thestar.com

Sport lends itself to a condition of moral simplicity. A major reason we turn to sport is for the undeniable certainty of its win/loss, rule-bound dynamic. At no time does sport’s artificial certainty stand out more than it does at the Olympics, because at no other time does it clash more with the deviousness of the world at large. Like the World Cup, the Olympics produces the same tension each time: between the simplified morality of sport itself and the problematic morality of the forces that control sport, or of the nations represented.

Putin’s games provide a case in point of that. Read more of this post

Weekly Links, Bonus Sochi Edition: Should the NHL participate in the Olympics?; The status of women’s hockey at the Games; NCAA hockey alumni at Sochi; 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!

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: on Friday we posted non-Olympics links, while this post is devoted exclusively to writing about the Sochi Games. We hope you enjoy both posts!

  • There has been a great deal of discussion about whether NHL players should continue to participate in the Olympic Games. Ed Snider, owner of the Philadelphia Flyers, offered outspoken comments about the NHL’s participation in the Olympics, calling it “ridiculous.” [Broad Street Hockey]
  • Nick Cotsonika offers a good take on the dilemma posed to the NHL by Olympics participation, particularly given the popularity of the event with players like Zdeno Chara, who missed two Boston Bruins’ games to carry the Slovakian flag at the Opening Ceremonies. [Yahoo! Sports]
  • And Harrison Mooney also discusses whether the NHL should send players to the Games, arguing that the current situation “create[s] a situation where players have to serve two masters” – their club and their country. [Puck Daddy]

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Weekly Links: Olympics Set to Begin; Pilot project to draw more families into hockey; Impact of weaker Canadian dollar on Canadian NHL teams; and more

Source: Canada.com

Source: Canada.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 2014 Olympics starting this week in Sochi, Sean Mcindoe provides a preview of the women’s hockey tournament including which players to watch. [Grantland]
  • Women’s hockey at the Olympic Games have been largely dominated by Canada and the US since its inception. Even though it was potentially dropped from the Games, women’s hockey continues to have strong financial support. [Huffington Post]
  • The folks over at Habs Eyes on the Prize have put together some excellent previews on all the hockey teams competing for gold in Sochi. Definitely worth reading. [Habs Eyes on the Prize]
  • Adam Proteau argues that, regardless of the result, Canadian hockey fans should remain humble about their team and limit the negativity towards other nations. [The Hockey News]
  • An interesting article that considers why Finland has produced, for its population size, such a large number of elite goaltenders. [New York Times]
  • Bauer and Hockey Canada are continuing to work on pilot projects to attract new families to the game. Their initial projects have increased the number of new players enrolling into local hockey programs. [Newswire]
  • In a recent study, the Retail Council of Canada found baby clothes and sports equipment costs have been reduced because of the elimination of tariffs by the federal government. [National Post]
  • Michael Grange examines the impact that a sinking Canadian dollar is having on Canadian NHL teams, and the league as a whole. [Sportsnet]
  • The organization Sports Without War launched a hoax Toronto Maple Leafs webpage to counter the organization’s relationship with and marketing of the Canadian Forces. The move drew widespread attention and sparked discussion around the relationship between sports and the military. In this interview, the activists explain their motivations. [VICE]
  • The merits of the plus/minus stat continue to be debated in the hockey world. Washington Capitals superstar Alexander Ovechkin serves as the case study. [SB Nation]
  • A remarkable story about a college goaltender who was born with one hand. [SB Nation]
  • An infographic on the attendance levels across the NHL [via Reddit].
  • A look into how losing franchises impact the psyche of their loyal fans. Case study: the Edmonton Oilers. [Edmonton Journal]

TSN’s ReOrientation Series

reorientation_649x100_57894TSN put together an excellent three-part series looking into sexual orientation in professional sports. Hosted by Aaron Ward, a 14-year veteran in professional hockey, the series interviews players to shed light on gay athletes and how professional sports are evolving.

From TSN:

In this special TSN report, Ward talks to other athletes, both gay and straight, about that culture, the need for change and how to make it happen. Included is a close look at Canada’s national sport and its apex – the National Hockey League – with intriguing comments from league commissioner Gary Bettman and players such as Dustin Brown, a tough-as-they-come Stanley Cup champion and team captain as well as former NFLer Esera Tuaolo.

Part 1 – The Culture of Casual Homophobia

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Weekly Links: Lots of Winter Classic reaction; USA Hockey/Bobby Ryan controversy; Rogers deal with NHL hurts poorest fans; East Indians’ increasing prominence in hockey; 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 big hockey news of the past two weeks concerned the NHL’s annual Winter Classic, which took place between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs on New Year’s Day at Michigan Stadium. The game set an attendance record for hockey, with 105,491 fans attending the game. [The Province]
  • It also recorded bumper ratings for CBC and NBC. NBC had 4.4 million viewers for its broadcast, while CBC drew 3.6 million. [SB Nation; Globe and Mail]
  • Lots of writers had rave reviews of the event, which certainly did not lack in its picturesqueness. Here are links to some of the better reactions from mainstream media, by Katie Baker, Adam Proteau, and Chris Johnston respectively. [Grantland; The Hockey News; Sportsnet]
  • And here are reactions from some Red Wings bloggers… [Winging it in Motown; The Malik Report]
  • … and some Maple Leafs bloggers. [Pension Plan Puppets; Leafs Nation]

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Weekly Links: MLSE service workers strike, settle; Teenage boys must choose between CHL and NCAA; USA Hockey to ban fighting?

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!

  • Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, the multibillion dollar corporation that owns the Toronto Maple Leafs, settled with its striking concession and service workers this week. Final details have not yet been released, but the MLSE proposals included wage rollbacks or freezes for many employees. [Rank and File; Toronto Star]
  • Big news in junior hockey, as USA Hockey is looking into banning fighting at all levels of its amateur system, including the junior league the USHL. [SB Nation]
  • Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe has an inside look at the NHL’s Department of Player Safety, which is headed by Brendan Shanahan and responsible for fining and suspending players for dangerous play. [Boston Globe]

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Weekly Links: Reaction to Shawn Thornton’s attack on Brooks Orpik; Big news in Canadian women’s hockey; Academic conferences on hockey research; 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 attack by the Boston Bruins’ Shawn Thornton on the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Brooks Orpik, which Courtney Szto discussed on this blog last weekend, has dominated the hockey headlines this week. Nicholas Cotsonika weighed in harshly against the act and the culture of violence in which it occurred. [Yahoo! Sports]
  • Jonathan Willis discussed the incident and argued that the “grey area” around self-policing in hockey places players in untenable situations: “As long as the NHL persists in its tight-rope walk between policing the game and allowing the players to dispense . . . “frontier justice” it’s only going to be a matter of time until something like this happens again.” [Cult of Hockey]
  • Jay Rosehill of the Philadelphia Flyers came to Thornton’s defense in this lengthy interview. If you want an insight into the culture of hockey fighting and the “Code” then give this a listed. [Sportsnet]

Read more of this post

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