Weekly Links: Shea Weber signing indicates financial disparities between NHL teams; Homophobic hockey reporter gets criticized; Updates on the Jacob Trouba saga

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

  • Shea Weber signed a massive offer sheet with the Philadelphia Flyers. Adam Proteau examines the disparity between large market teams such as the Flyers and small market teams such as the Nashville Predators. [The Hockey News]
  • Meanwhile, James Mirtle answers the question: “Why [do] NHL teams cry poor despite the league’s record growth?” A very interesting read about the distribution of revenue between teams. [Globe and Mail]
  • Good post comparing Gary Bettman’s rhetorical two-stepping about concussions in hockey with the tobacco industry’s tactics to defend itself against criticism. [The Hockey Writers]
  • A journalist for the Niagara Falls Reporter published a homophobic defense of fighting in hockey: “The NHL’s abominable, “You Can Play” promotion, which all but endorses homosexuality in hockey, is among its top priorities. Thanks to Gary Bettman and his ilk, enforcers are out, but gays are in. . . . Fortunately for Sabres fans, the team has not come out of the closet and the signing of tough guy, John Scott is an indication there might be some shred of manliness left in an otherwise emasculated organization.” Brutal. [Niagara Falls Reporter]
  • Reaction in the hockey blogosphere was swift, with many jumping to condemn the reporter and the newspaper. Pensions Plan Puppets was among the first to respond. [Pension Plan Puppets]
  • Chris Peters is doing a great job covering the recruiting scandal involving the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL and Jacob Trouba, who has committed to play at Michigan University next year. First up, some info about the Rangers suing the student newspaper that broke this story. [United States of Hockey]
  • Next up, Peters provides a helpful overview of the competition between NCAA and CHL teams to recruit talented players to their respective leagues. A very good read to understand the complexity of the recruitment process. [United States of Hockey]
  • Former Colorado Avalanche enforcer Scott Parker gave a lengthy two-part interview to Mile High Hockey that, amongst many other issues, provides some fascinating insights into “the Code” in hockey when Parker discusses Todd Bertuzzi’s infamous attack on Steve Moore. [Mile High Hockey: Part I and Part II]
  • The interview drew a number of responses from the hockey blogosphere. Jake Goldsbie had a good post about the culture of violence in hockey, including Parker’s assessment of Moore. [Backhand Shelf]
  • Will the New York Islanders move to Brooklyn? John Imossi gives five reasons why it could happen. [The Hockey Writers]
  • Greg Wyshynski explains how the NHL’s TV various deals may help reduce the possibility of a lockout. [Puck Daddy]
  • Brandon Worley has a review of Goon. If you missed it in March, I also recommend checking out Matt and Marty’s review of the film on this blog. [Defending Big D]
  • Finally, some very sad news: Jessica Ghawi (AKA Jessica Redfield), a hockey blogger and aspiring sport journalist, was among those killed at the recent shooting at a Colorado movie theatre. She was known by many hockey bloggers and her passing inspired many moving tributes. RIP Jessica. [Puck Daddy; United States of Hockey]

General Sport Links

  • Penn State finally removed the statue of Joe Paterno from its campus. [TSN]
  • Dave Zirin has an interesting and persuasive argument against abolishing the Penn State football program. [Edge of Sports]
  • The NBA votes to place adverts on jerseys. Yikes. How long until the NHL follows suit? [Globe and Mail]

Weekly Links: NHLPA and owners begin CBA negotiations; Social media and hockey analytics; Plans for new arena in Markham

Proposed Markham arena (Image from: http://www.cbc.ca/)

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

  • Lots of chatter about the discussion between NHL owners the NHL Players’ Association as they begin to negotiate a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. David Shoalts has a good overview of the key issues in this negotiation. [Globe and Mail]
  • Meanwhile, Kukla’s Corner has the details of the NHLPA’s 31-man negotiating committee. Lots of prominent players are involved on the committee, including Henrik Zetterberg (Red Wings), Shane Doan (Phoenix Coyotes), Shea Weber (Nashville Predators, and John Tavares (New York Islanders). [Kukla’s Corner]
  • Hockey in Society contributor Sunil Agnihotri discusses information overload in the digital age, with specific discussion of the various ways in which hockey fans can consume the sport through (new) media. [Super Fan. 2.0]
  • More social media news: the Detroit Red Wings are hosting a social media meet-up at the Social Media Day Detroit conference. [Kukla’s Corner]
  • Daniel Wagner reports on “the next stage in hockey analytics,” discussing an advanced stats tracking system that is becoming popular in the NBA. [Backhand Shelf]
  • The plans for the new hockey arena in Markham, ON have been released. The 20,000+ seat arena is aiming to open 2014 and hoping to host the 2015 World Junior Championships. [TSN]
  • Bruce Dowbiggen reports that the NHL is considering adding a Sunday night Canadian broadcast in addition to the traditional Saturday Hockey Night in Canada broadcast. This may mean that the CBC maintains the HNIC rights while TSN and Sportsnet have the opportunity to broadcast more games featuring Canadian teams. [Globe and Mail]
  • An interesting post by Greg Wyshinki about Sidney Crosby’s new 12-year contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins, and how the team is unable to insure it because of Crosby’s concussion history. [Puck Daddy]
  • Pete Cunningham writes about the anticipated economic impact of the 2013 Winter Classic for Ann Arbor businesses. The game between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs will take place on January 1, 2013. [AnnArbor.com]
  • Patrick Hoffman with an interesting look at hockey participation and popularity in sunbelt states, including some interesting tidbits about the support NHL hockey teams have given to local hockey teams. The Nashville Predators, for example, were active in the movement to save the University of Alabama-Hunstsville Division 1 NCAA hockey program. [Kukla’s Corner]
  • The KHL confirms that it will play two regular season games in 2013 in Brooklyn, New York. SKA St. Petersburg and Dynamo Moscow will face off at the new Barclays Arena. [Puck Daddy]
  • The Phoenix Coyotes sale looks set to move ahead, as a court overturns the lawsuit by the Goldwater Institute to stymie Glendale’s subsidization of the Coyotes’ arena. Lots of politics in this arena situation. [Puck Daddy]
  • I hope to write more about this on this blog, but I wrote a post at Nucks Misconduct about Pavel Bure and his legacy with the Vancouver Canucks. The post is not particularly critical, but more of a fan’s look at the player. However, there are some interesting aspects to the story. Bure, who was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame this week, had a turbulent departure from Vancouver that involved some character assassination in the media. An interesting example of the power of the media to shape popular understandings of a player and his/her legacy. [Nucks Misconduct]

General Sport Links

  • AWESOME BLOG ALERT: Tyler Shipley has started a new blog called Left Hook, which takes a critical look at different aspects of sport. You can read Tyler’s excellent post about the politics between Canada and Honduras and the role of soccer in Honduran politics. [Left Hook]
  • Also on Left Hook: Marty Clark, who co-authored a review of Goon on this blog, examines and critiques assumed “truths” in sport and discusses way of deconstructing these “common sense” understandings. A great read. [Left Hook]
  • Hockey in Society contributor Courtney Szto discusses the gender implications of nude athlete calendars, as Canada’s National Senior Women’s Rugby team releases a fundraising calendar. Are these portrayals empowering or exploitative? Should national sport teams have to resort to nude calendars to raise funds? Lots of interesting questions explored in this post. [The Rabbit Hole]
  • Saudi Arabia will, for the first time, allow women to compete at the Olympic Games. [Globe and Mail]

Hockey violence and the 2012 NHL playoffs: Why a moral panic won’t change the NHL’s cultural tolerance of violence

There has been no shortage of ink spilled in the past weeks about the surprising and upsetting levels of violence that have characterized the 2012 NHL playoffs thus far – including insightful posts from Hockey in Society’s E. Martin Nolan about psychosocial understandings of hockey violence and the fantastical nature of “hatred” between players.

NHL VP of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan has certainly been a busy man during these playoffs, handing down suspensions to eight players and fining two other players. The standard of discipline has varied wildly, with Shea Weber getting just a $2,500 fine for slamming Henrik Zetterberg’s head into the boards and Raffi Torres receiving a 25-game suspension for a leaping hit that sent Marian Hossa off the ice on a stretcher. The level of violence, which to most observers seems unusually high even for the emotionally-charged playoff season, has created a moral panic about the state of hockey and an unsurprising bevy of counterarguments from entrenched interests in the sport. At the same time, television ratings have soared in spite (or because) of the on-ice violence.

While I sympathize with the crusaders at the vanguard of the moral panic, my optimism about their ability to fundamentally alter NHL hockey is limited. As this post will explore, the NHL has a tightly controlled and insular culture that militates against outside interference. While some influential media members may hold some sway in the NHL boardrooms, it is hard not to see the league swatting away much of the outrage with minimal damage to its brand or popular integrity.

Read more of this post

Blowing Off Steam with Shea Weber and the Vancouver Rioters

Do the NHL Playoffs Facilitate Catharsis?

How does this make you feel? (from the Detroit Free Press)

Shea Weber knew he’d be hit, even though the game was over. Henrik Zetterberg went after it like it was midway through the period, like he’d actually be able to make a play. So Weber slams his head into the glass, twice. But let’s not dwell on that. Let’s dwell on the intensity of the play. Zetterberg was going after the puck with such hopeless vigour because, in Weber’s words, “it’s the playoffs,” and so you never, ever let up. Zetterberg had to fight for that puck in the corner to maintain playoff intensity going into the next game.

Likewise, the fans watch playoff games with increased intensity. It is logical to think of this sudden increase in fan attention and focus as in some way being cathartic. After all, we’ve followed our team through the whole, long season, and if we’re lucky, the playoffs emerge as a reward for our loyalty. Now, the games are so important that each goal, each play, takes on momentous importance, and the thrill of the game subsequently increases. It would seem to follow, then, that a playoff game offers us increased emotional relief, also known as catharsis. Because we care more, we pour more of ourselves into our watching, and the expected result is that such watching would exhaust our banked emotions, and in particular our pent-up aggression. Or so the common thinking goes.  Read more of this post