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: Bobby Orr’s New Book; Panthers Host LGBT Night; Research on Concussions in Hockey; Hockey Analytics; and more

Source: Sportsnet

Source: Sportsnet

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!

  • Hockey legend Bobby Orr recently spoke with Peters Mansbridge on The National  to discuss his thoughts on minor hockey and the methods of developing players. Orr also released a book entitled “Orr – My Story” this past week. A link to the full interview can be found here. [CBC News]
  • The Florida Panthers are partnering with the You Can Play Project to host LGBT hockey night this weekend. [Miami Herald]
  • Jeff Klein provides an excellent summary of the research discussed at a recent health conference regarding concussions in hockey. [New York Times] Read more of this post

Weekly Links: Stephen Harper’s New Book, Concussions in Junior Hockey, NHL Executive Salary, and More

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Source: CBC)

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Source: CBC)

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!

  • Congratulations to Team Canada for winning gold at the Four Nations sledge hockey tournament in Russia! All the best to the players as they get set for the Paralympic Winter Games in 2014! [CBC News]
  • The plans for a new arena for a new hockey arena continues to be an issue as the city of Detroit struggles. [Financial Post]
  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s book A Great Game: The Forgotten Leafs and the Rise of Professional Hockey is set to be released in early November. The book will delve into the history of the game with proceeds from the book going to the Canadian Forces Personnel and Family Support Services (CFPFSS). [Newswire]
  • It was announced this week that Russian legend Pavel Bure will be heading up a new KHL franchise in Sochi after the Winter Games are completed. It will be interesting to see what other long-term projects stem from the Olympics. [Ria Novosti]
  • While concussions have received a great deal of awareness and scutiny at the NHL level, Chris Peters argues that much more needs to be done at the junior and college levels in order to protect players form long term injuries to the head. [United States of Hockey]

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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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Roundtable: The NHL and NHLPA Partner with the You Can Play Project

Roundtables are an occasional feature on Hockey in Society. Roundtables will present brief commentaries from Hockey in Society contributors on pressing or timely issues within hockey and its culture, with the aim of presenting a diverse range of critical viewpoints on the topic under discussion.

On April 11, the NHL and NHL Player’s Association announced a joint partnership with the You Can Play Project, an anti-homophobia initiative started by NHL scout Patrick Burke. The partnership will aim to create a welcoming environment for hockey players of all sexual orientations and to provide educational resources to incoming and current players. From You Can Play’s press release:

The official partnership with You Can Play includes a significant commitment to education and training for teams, players, media and fans plus the production and broadcast of more public service announcements.  The NHL becomes the first major American professional sports league to officially partner with an LGBT advocacy group on this scale. . . .

You Can Play will conduct seminars at the NHL’s rookie symposium to educate young prospects on LGBT issues. In addition, You Can Play will make its resources and personnel available to each individual team as desired. The NHLPA and NHL also will work with You Can Play to integrate the project into their Behavioral Health Program, enabling players to confidentially seek counseling or simply ask questions regarding matters of sexual orientation.

Regular readers of Hockey in Society will know that issues of homophobia in or related to hockey cultures have been a prominent feature on this blog – from the notable recent changes to hockey’s traditionally homophobic culture, to Brian Burke’s strident and public anti-homophobia stance, to the Canadian Conservative government’s downplaying of Canada’s support of gay marriage in favour of publicizing famous hockey victories, to, of course, the emergence of the You Can Play project in 2012. Given this history of critical treatment of LGBTQ issues in hockey and the significance of the newly formed partnership, Hockey in Society is proud to present its second Roundtable on this topic. After the jump, you will find commentary from three Hockey in Society contributors: Courtney Szto, Matt Ventresca, and Alvin Ma. Hopefully these differing views shed valuable light on the issue of homophobia in hockey cultures and spark important debate and discussion on this subject and related issues.

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Review: “Hockey: A People’s History” (2006)

In 2006, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) aired a 10-part series entitled Hockey: A People’s History (HAPH). Adopting the approach used in its popular 2000 miniseries Canada: A People’s History, the CBC focused in this series on the experience of Canadians with the sport of hockey for over a century. Beginning with early ball and stick games played in various societies over human history, the documentary quickly moves on to introducing European ball and stick games played on ice and First Nations baggataway (the forerunner to what became institutionalized as the sport of lacrosse) as the predecessors to modern hockey. After this very brief homage to hockey-like folk games, the documentary discusses the early organization of ice hockey by amateur athlete in Montreal and proceeds from there to focus entirely on the development of hockey in Canada over a roughly 125 year period.

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Weekly Links: Homophobia in hockey; Fallout from Cam Janssen comments; The politics and economics of hockey arenas

[Editor's Note: This post is two days late. Apologies that I was not able to get it posted on the weekend.]

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

  • Tyler Shipley published a great piece about homophobia in hockey in light of the criticism received by Brian Burke for his decision to march in Toronto’s Pride Parade rather than man the phones to make free agent signings on July 1. A great read. [Left Hook]
  • Meanwhile, Steve Dangle has a good interview with Patrick Burke about the You Can Play Project, which continues to gather momentum to fight homophobia in hockey. [Leafs Nation]
  • Cam Janssen of the New Jersey Devils unleashed some extremely sexist and homophobic comments on a radio show last week. He also stated that his role on the ice is to hurt players, to catch them with their heads down and injure them. Needless to say this sparked a huge amount of controversy. [SB Nation]
  • Not surprisingly, Janssen quickly apologized. While many people vilified Janssen for the comments, Patrick Burke reached out to him over the homophobic comments and appealed for people to forgive Janssen for the mistake. [Backhand Shelf]
  • Ellen Etchingham had a scathing critique of Janssen and one-dimensional goons, discussing his comments about injuring players and his very limited on-ice role with the Devils. [Backhand Shelf]
  • Ryan Lambert also weighed in on Janssen’s comments and role as an NHLer. [Puck Daddy]
  • I recently wrote about the construction of legacy in relation to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Ellen Etchingham has a great post in the same vein about Harvey Jackson, who starred for the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1930s but who had off-ice issues (including alcoholism and domestic assault) that created a rift with Leafs’ owner Conn Smythe and kept him out of the Hall for many decades. An interesting discussion about what the Hall represents, what characteristics it should honour, and how it whitewashes the controversy that surrounds many hockey players and events. [Backhand Shelf]
  • Former USSR and Canada players are preparing for a friendly game that will be rematch of the 1972 Summit Series. The game, celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Series, will take place in Moscow in September. While the article overdramatizes the impact of the Summit Series, it is notable politically as both Vladimir Putin and Stephen Harper will be part of the ceremonies. [Globe and Mail]
  • A new reality show will feature young Aboriginal men trying to earn a shot at advancing in hockey and performing before scouts. It will air on the Aboriginal People’s Television Network. [Ottawa Citizen, via Puck Daddy]
  • Ken Campbell argues that, while it has temporarily increased their local popularity, winning the Stanley Cup will not have a serious long-term impact on the Kings’ place in the Los Angeles sports market. [The Hockey News]
  • Lots of arena news last week. To start, Lighthouse Hockey has an update on the latest political wrangling over the fate of the Nassau Coliseum, home of the New York Islanders. [Lighthouse Hockey]
  • Meanwhile, could the Islanders move to the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY? [Puck Daddy]
  • David Ebner reports on David Katz’s attempts to get a downtown arena built for the Edmonton Oilers, and his veiled threat to move the team if the arena deal does not go through. A good read on the politics of sport venues. [Globe and Mail]
  • Another story about a Canadian NHL team’s arena: the Vancouver Canucks are planning to construct rental apartments adjacent to Rogers Arena in the city’s downtown. [Globe and Mail]
  • Also lots of labour news, as the NHL and NHLPA begin negotiations over a new CBA. Greg Wyshynski examines the hypocrisy of Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold, who three months ago was claiming that salaries were causing him to lose money on the team and who then approved the signing, for a combined $198 million, of Ryan Suter and Zach Parise. [Puck Daddy]
  • Also on Puck Daddy, The Player – an anonymous NHL player/blogger – explains what the players’ issues are in the labour process. [Puck Daddy]
  • Interesting post about expansion in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), including new Women’s Hockey programs at Nipissing (North Bay, ON) and Ryerson (Toronto, ON) Universities and a new hockey program for both men and women at Laurentian University (Sudbury, ON). [Eh Game]

General Sport Links

  • Hockey in Society contributor Courtney Szto has a couple good pieces up on her blog, The Rabbit Hole. This one discusses Serena Williams and the myth of “colour-blindness” in sport. [The Rabbit Hole]
  • And this post discusses double-amputee Oscar Pistorius, who will be competing in the London Olympics this summer. A great discussion of how society constructs disability. [The Rabbit Hole]

Weekly Links: Brian Burke criticized for marching in Pride Parade; Who was hockey’s first goon?

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

  • Interesting historical piece by Iain Fyffe looking at the emergence of the “goon” or “thug” in hockey, in which he argues that it was the Broad Street Bullies who first brought the role of pure goon into the sport. [Hockey Historisis]
  • Brian Burke’s decision to march in Toronto’s Pride Parade, instead of man the phones on the first day of Free Agency, has drawn criticism. [Globe and Mail]
  • Meanwhile, Burke spoke in support of the You Can Play Project about the prospects of a gay hockey player playing in the NHL. [TVO]
  • Ken Campbell reports that NHL players will be much more engaged in this summer’s CBA negotiations than they were in the 2004-05 labour process, and the NHLPA will be “more active [and] organized.” [The Hockey News]
  • Edmonton Oilers prospect Nail Yakupov has been criticized by the Edmonton media for excessive celebrations in a rookie camp. Justin Bourne urges media and fans not to crush the fun out of creative and exuberant players. [Backhand Shelf]
  • A controversy may be brewing, as blue-chip prospect Jacob Trouba was reportedly offered $200,000 to forgo his commitment to Michigan University in order to play for the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers. [United States of Hockey]
  • His family has released a statement denying the allegations. This may be the end of this issue, but the topic of illegitimate payments (or offers) by CHL teams to junior players should certainly be an important topic to keep an eye on in the future. [United States of Hockey]
  • Alex Radulov has left the Nashville Predators and returned to the KHL. Dmitry Chesnekov wonders: is this the end of his NHL career? [Puck Daddy]
  • This post is from March, so apologies for not posting it until now. But Nathan Kalman-Lamb’s post about Sidney Crosby and injury is definitely worth a read. [Nathan Kalman-Lamb]
  • Raffi Torres of the Phoenix Coyotes has had his precedent-setting 25-game suspension, which was given during the playoffs for a headshot to the Chicago Blackhawks’ Marian Hossa, reduced to 21 games by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. [Puck Daddy]

General Sport Links

  • Elena Chou has a strong piece about racism at the recent Euro 2012 tournament and in soccer more generally. [Left Hook]
  • Interesting post about militarism in Major League Baseball. [Runs Batted Out]
  • South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius has qualified for the London Olympics, and will be the first amputee to ever compete in the Games. [CTV]

Defending the Blue Line: Hockey and militarism as social responsibility?

During the pre-game interview with Zach Parise before Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals, Parise mentioned that he is involved with an organization called Defending the Blue Line (DTBL).  The interview showed Parise hanging out with military men and their families while shooting some stuff.  This peaked my interest so I decided to look into DTBL further.

The mission of DTBL is

ensuring that children of military members are afforded every opportunity to participate in the game of hockey.  We accomplish this by providing free equipment for military kids, hockey camps, special events, and financial assistance for registration fees and other costs associated with hockey.

DTBL was created in 2009 by a group of Minnesota soldiers (the hockey state!).  It appears that Parise’s allegiance to the organization probably has something to do with the fact that his father is on the Board of Directors.  Other players who support DTBL include: Cal Clutterbuck, George Parros, Matt Henricks, Ryan Kesler and Sean Avery.  NHL teams listed as partners include: the Anaheim Ducks, Buffalo Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins, Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals.  You may also be interested to know that the Derek Boogaard Memorial is a MVP Level sponsor/donor.

Sport is like war without the killing (hopefully), this notion is nothing new.  We see it when the fighter jets fly over before the start of the Indy 500.  We see it when athletes wear camouflage jerseys.  We hear it when commentators talk about athletes being warriors in the trenches.  As Mark Norman has outlined in a previous post it is important to dissect the significance of the link between sport and militarism, and for our purposes, hockey and militarism.  Dr. Samantha King, a professor of Cultural Studies at Queen’s University, has written about the synergy between sport and war with the specific example of the National Football League in a post-9/11 world.  King (2008) writes:

as professional leagues such as the NFL incorporate Bush administration policy into their business strategy with the aim on enhancing brand identification and capital accumulation, it appears that a system is emerging in which sport culture has moved beyond its customary role as an ideological support to the corporate state.  Therefore, although relationships between sport and the state are not new, there is an intensified depth and mutuality to the sport-war nexus in the present moment – a shift that might be understood as a further indication of the miltarization of everyday life, and, simultaneously, of the “sportification” of political life – in the contemporary United States. (p.528) Read more of this post

Weekly Links: Hockey culture’s fear of personality; The impact of a Stanley Cup win in non-traditional NHL markets

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

  • In light of the Los Angeles Kings’ recent Stanley Cup win, an interesting post by Mike Chen about the impact of a championship on the fan base and grassroots hockey participation of non-traditional hockey markets. Chen looks back at the impact of the Tampa Bay Lighting (2004) and Carolina Hurricanes (2006) wins on those teams’ local success. [SB Nation]
  • Harrison Mooney has an excellent article about hockey culture’s suspicion of personality, with the examples of Ilya Bryzgalov and Tim Thomas as evidence, and how this could militate against a gay player coming out. [Puck Daddy]
  • Meanwhile, more NHLers have joined the You Can Play campaign. Check out the new PSA featuring Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks and Dustin Byfuglien and Tanner Glass of the Winnipeg Jets. [You Can Play]
  • Thomas Drance also has an excellent post about hockey personality, in this case looking at Roberto Luongo’s anonymous Twitter account and how he is able to craft an alternative image through his new media interactions. [Canucks Army]
  • Speaking of new media: check out this awesome infographic about the frequency with which NHL-related topics were mentioned on Twitter during the 2012 Playoffs. [Backhand Shelf]
  • Gary Mason reflects on the memory and legacy of the Vancouver’s Stanley Cup Riot one year after it occurred. [Globe and Mail]
  • Michigan Stadium, a dry venue given NCAA rules, has received a temporary liquor permit for the 2013 NHL Winter Classic between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs. [Wood TV 8, via Backhand Shelf]
  • The New Jersey Devils’ playoff run brought the team a handsome profit, but it pales in comparison to the organization’s debt. [Puck Daddy]