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]

Weekly Links: Joshua Ho-Sang and not fitting into hockey’s culture; Ottawa Gee Gees suspended for alleged “sexual misconduct”; Hockey community support for LGBTQ equality; 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!

  • Steve Simmons talks to prospect Joshua Ho-Sang who believes his skill and talent may be overlooked because of the color of his skin. A really interesting story. [Toronto Sun]
  • And here is Neate Sager’s take on the Simmons interview with Ho-Sang. [Buzzing the Net]
  • Clare Austin examines how prior perception impacts how people understand events and relationships, with a focus on the trade of Martin St. Louis for Ryan Callahan between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the New York Rangers. Probably the only time you will see the NHL trade deadline linked with a discussion of how dominant racial perceptions in the early 1800s facilitated the creation of unfair and racist policies and structures in the US. So, in other words, well worth a read. [Puckology]
  • The University of Ottawa, a member of the CIS, has suspended its Gee Gees men’s hockey team for the 2014-15 season and fired its head coach. The move comes “after an internal investigation of allegations of drinking and sexual misconduct by some players during a trip to Thunder Bay in February.” [Sportsnet]

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Weekly Links: P.K. Subban targeted by racist Tweets; Larry Kwong honoured at Hall of Fame; Shifts in body-checking since the 1970s; 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!

  • Larry Kwong is considered to be the first man of colour to play in the NHL, having suited up for one shift with the New York Rangers in the 1947-48 season. He is being honoured by having a jersey from his days with the Nanaimo Clippers displayed in the Hockey Hall of Fame. [Color of Hockey]
  • Avi Goldberg on notable issues surrounding Twitter during the NHL and NBA playoffs, including  a discussion of reaction to Ron Maclean’s comments about French Canadian referees on Hockey Night in Canada and the dangerous play of the Minnesota Wild’s Matt Cooke. [The Barnstormer]
  • PK Subban of the Montreal Canadiens was the target of racist tweets by Boston Bruins fans following Game 1 of the teams’ series, and his response to them has earned him praise from fans and journalists. [Habs Eyes on the Prize]
  • Nick Cotsonika discusses the cultural significance of the Canadiens in Montreal and the passion of their fans. [Yahoo Sports!]

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Weekly Links: Race and the treatment of Evander Kane; Hockey media news and insight; Quintal replaces Shanahan at NHL head office; 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!

  • Arctic Ice Hockey examines the role of race in the treatment in Winnipeg of the Jets’ Evander Kane. [Arctic Ice Hockey]
  • William Douglas gives a historical overview of Asians’ involvement in professional hockey. [Color of Hockey]
  • Sportsnet is seeking input from fans and developing a Fan Advisory Panel. Fans can provide input on programming and other broadcast concepts.  [Sportsnet]
  • Pat Maclean looks into some of the false narratives built by media and the negative ramifications of poor information. A fantastic piece. [Black Dog Hates Skunks]
  • With news the the Canadian government is slashing its budget by $130 million, the CBC has announced that it will no longer bid on professional sports, including, obviously, hockey broadcasts. [CBC]

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Weekly Links: Life in hockey’s minor-pro leagues; Critiquing perceptions of toughness in light of Rich Peverley’s collapse; CWHL and NCAA women’s champions crowned; 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!

  • Really good read from Clare Austen on the reaction of some hockey fans to Rich Peverley’s collapse during a game a few weeks ago, with a critique of the “toughness” that many hockey people value over player safety. [Puckology]
  • Paul Hunter has a really insightful long-form piece about life for players and staff on the Brampton Beast, a new team in the Central Hockey League. Really fascinating insight into life in pro hockey’s minor leagues. [Toronto Star]
  • … while in NCAA action, Clarkson University upset the heavily favoured University of Minnesota (which had lost just one game all season) to capture the NCAA women’s hockey title. [Puck Daddy]
  • Matt Drake gives a historical overview of black hockey players in hockey, beginning with the Eastern Canadian Coloured Hockey League in the late 1800s up to the present day collection of stars such as PK Subban, Evander Kane and Jarome Iginla. [Habs Eyes on the Prize]

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Weekly Links: Successful Toronto youth program for disadvantaged and minority boys; the business of the NHL; Stu Grimson, Jim Thomson weigh in on fighting; 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 really interesting read from William Douglas about the Skillz Black Aces and the Black Mafia, two Toronto teams for male youth of colour that were “created to give minority and disadvantaged Canadian youth the exposure and the opportunity to play the expensive sport of hockey.” The teams have featured NHLers such as Kevin Weekes, Anson Carter, Joel Ward, Chris Stewart, and Wayne Simmonds. [Color of Hockey]
  • Eric Duhatschek conducted an in-depth interview with NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman, that explored topics such as potential expansion, league revenues, Canadian TV contracts, and more. [Globe and Mail]
  • Meanwhile, Greg Wyshynski interviewed the NHL’s John Collins about the NHL Stadium Series and various media ventures, including its newly announced “NHL Revealed.” [Puck Daddy]

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Teaching a sociocultural course on hockey at the undergraduate level: Thoughts on course content and critically engaging students

Starting next week, I will be teaching a third year course to undergraduates in University of Toronto’s Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education. The course is called “Hockey in Canadian Society” – and yes, I realize that the title is incredibly similar to the name of this blog! I am extremely excited, if a little nervous, about starting the course. I do not have nerves about public speaking or about the course preparation – I have been excited to teach this course for months and so have already spent quite a lot of time on its design – but rather whether I can successfully impart the complexities of hockey’s social construction in Canadian society to undergraduate students.

This post simply offers an overview of the course, my thoughts about engaging students critically with a sport many of them love, and presents a list of sources that students will read. I hope that it may provide a useful resource for other scholars teaching about hockey and more generally provide a useful list of some good academic and online sources about the sport. If you have any comments, feedback, or suggestions please let me know!

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The Hockey Hall of Fame and the Politics of Hockey Legacy: How and Why Are Certain Players Remembered?

Last week, the Hockey Hall of Fame (HHOF) announced the four men who would be the Hall’s 2012 inductees. The four, who will all enter in the Player category, are Joe Sakic, Pavel Bure, Mats Sundin, and Adam Oates. Surprisingly, despite prominent figures such as former coaches Pat Burns and Fred Shero remaining outside the Hall, no person was selected in the Builders category. Sadly and not surprisingly, given that the HHOF has seen fit to elect just two women since finally opening the honour to females in 2010, no women were selected.

The HHOF selection is process is always controversial and each year there are both surprising decisions and snubs to seemingly deserving people. A major criticism of the HHOF’s selection process is its opaqueness – decisions are made by the selection committee behind closed doors, and no information about the process is made available to the public. Furthermore, reflecting the socio-demographic characteristics of hockey culture, the committee is typically composed of white males, leading to questions about its commitment to diversity. Adam Proteau summed up many of these criticisms when he wrote, in 2008:

In an era where transparency is a valued and an often-demanded approach to virtually all aspects of society, the HHOF allows its most important decisions to be made by a group of middle-aged (to be kind) white dudes who aren’t required to make the thoughts and opinions that went into their decisions available to the public.

That’s just not right – and it’s definitely not the way other modern sports’ halls of fame operate. To be sure, there are some good people who are on the HHOF’s selection committee, people whose judgment and character are beyond reproach.

Nevertheless, so long as those people allow the Hall’s induction process to be held out of view of the general public – you know, the people they depend on to pay admission to the place – they do themselves and the men (and I do mean only the men) they induct a huge disservice.

Given its problematic and political nature, the HHOF induction process offers an excellent opportunity to reflect on the concept of legacy in hockey. In particular, it raises questions about who is remembered and why; about the political and social circumstances that impact the construction of hockey legacies; and about the way in which greatness in sport is selectively constructed by certain people at certain times. After the jump, I explore three issues in the construction of hockey legacies: the power of the media; the power differentials between the hockey establishment and players; and the lingering and ongoing impact of social inequalities. Read more of this post

Jack Adams Arena: A fragile island of hockey diversity

Including an interview with outgoing Detroit Hockey Association President Will McCants

Willie O’Ree, with members of the Detroit Dragons, after they won the Willie O’Ree Cup.

Take Lyndon East from Greenfield in northwest Detroit and you’ll go through a neighborhood of detached bungalows and then random industrial parks and warehouses. It’s a quiet, non-distinct stretch of road in an often eerily quiet city. To your left will emerge, after the cemetery, a long, low, grey building. You might notice it, what with the large parking lot out front, or you might not. But if it’s hockey season, there’s a good chance that inside Jack Adams Arena there’s a game on, there’s players winding down from the last game and there’s players getting ready for the next. Unless it’s Sunday or Monday, when the rink is closed due to budget cuts, or in the early fall and late spring, when the rink is closed due to budget cuts.

Jack Adams Arena

This being Hockeytown and Michigan, nothing surprising about an ice rink. What makes Jack Adams remarkable is that it is one of only a few indoor rinks in Detroit proper, and it’s the only one that draws mainly from the city itself. Detroit is an 85% Black city and Jack Adams and The Detroit Hockey Association (or DHA, which runs the rink’s hockey programming) have been increasingly drawing from Detroit’s Latino community, in large part through cooperation with Southwest Detroit’s Clark Park, which includes an outdoor rink. As a result, DHA ices teams that are, let’s say, less White than you might expect. And you would expect that with good reason, because hockey is still a White-dominated sport.

Not that race really mattered within the confines of Jack Adams. I know from experience, because I, a white male, played something like eight seasons at Jack Adams. Later, I coached part of a season, and before I ever played, I watched my older brother play there. When we were on the ice together, we might have been aware that our racial makeup was somewhat unique, but it never really mattered within the team. When it did matter was when we left the city to play suburban teams, or when those teams came to our lonely stretch of Lyndon to play us. Even then, it didn’t usually matter all that much; we were just like any other team. But there were moments when it mattered intensely. To pick just one example, my final game was an intense playoff elimination game against Dearborn, the suburb founded by Henry Ford in large part so he could escape the city (thus helping set the segregating pace that would define the Detroit area). A fight broke out after the game. Whatever, fights happen after games, and I’m not sure race had anything to do with that. But the fact that the Dearborn police were on hand, just in case the game with all those Detroiters in attendance got out of control, just might have had something to do with race. Two of our players, one in the stands because of a previous suspension and one in uniform, were arrested. Both were Black.

I don’t want to make too big a deal out of that. I mention it only to illustrate the tension our games were capable of causing (to be fair, our team was not always the innocent party, we often gave into the tension ourselves). Despite all that, by icing a diverse team in a non-diverse sport and in a highly segregated metro area, DHA has done a whole lot to bridge the gaps between White and Black. But in doing so it has also revealed the racial gap that exists in both the Detroit metro area and in hockey. That gap is hardly flattering, as was blatantly obvious in the racism recently levelled at the Washington Capital’s Joel Ward.

The twitter-based vitriol aimed at Ward had me thinking about Jack Adams, so I called up an old coach of mine: Will McCants, AKA Coach Will, the outgoing president of DHA and a long time Jack Adams regular and corner stone. DHA works because of people like Coach Will–that includes parents, managers, coaches, etc.–who volunteer their time and effort to make hockey a possibility for kids who otherwise wouldn’t even think of playing hockey, but whose lives are often profoundly altered by the opportunity to do so. Sadly, there cannot be enough Coach Will’s in the world to run a hockey rink if the rink is shut down, which has been a looming possibility at Jack Adams for as long as Detroit has been in its current crisis. Here’s hoping something comes through to ensure the long-term existence of Jack Adams Arena and the Detroit Hockey Association.

My interview with Coach Will follows the jump, but if you want a better idea of what Jack Adams is all about, I suggest you watch the video below. Its story is two decades old, but it gets to the core of this unique hockey organization.  Read more of this post

Once again, hockey fans take to Twitter to hurl racist abuse at Joel Ward

Sadly, this was one of the less-offensive of the many derogatory tweets about Joel Ward this evening.

Less than two weeks ago, after Joel Ward scored in overtime of Game 7 to lead the Washington Capitals past the Boston Bruins, some hockey fans (many of whom identified as Bruins fans) took to Twitter to hurl racist abuse at the black Canadian forward from Toronto. While many fans of the Bruins and hockey more generally objected vociferously, clearly a significant amount of fans felt completely comfortable deploying racist epitaphs to insult the hockey player.

Tonight, Ward took a devastating penalty for the Capitals when, with just over 20 seconds remaining and the Capitals nursing a 2-1 lead, he high-sticked the New York Rangers’ Carl Hagelin and drew blood. The Rangers scored before the buzzer to send the game to overtime and then, with Ward still serving the second half of his double-minor, won the game on a goal by defenseman Marc Staal.

And then the Twitter racists returned in full force.

[WARNING: STRONG AND OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE APPEARS IN THE FOLLOWING IMAGES]

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