By Charlie Gillis - Sunday, January 20, 2013 - 0 Comments
Ken Campbell on the problem with Canada’s obsession
With $320,000, you could buy a home in a medium-sized Canadian city, or an education at an Ivy League university. Or, you could do as a growing number of parents do: spend it on personal trainers, road trips, sport psychologists and league fees in the faint hope your child will attain fame and fortune in hockey. Ken Campbell, a senior writer at the The Hockey News, and co-author Jim Parcels explore this phenomenon in Selling the Dream, a book about how hockey parents, kids and the game itself are paying a steep price for Canada’s national obsession.
Q: I was struck, as many hockey fans were, by an ad Nike ran just before Christmas, which played on a familiar and romantic notion linking pro hockey to scenes of frozen lakes and small-town arenas. How far does that imagery stand from today’s reality, as witnessed by a kid dreaming of an NHL career?
A: The dream is still pure for most people; hockey is and always will be an enormous part of the Canadian cultural fabric. But I want people, when they read this book, to realize that it’s time to dial things down a bit. Hockey has become almost too important in Canada; in a lot of ways, it’s all we have. We have athletes who excel in other sports, but the stakes in hockey have gotten so high that it seems all-pervading. People get caught up in the dream very quickly, and very easily.
By Paul Henderson - Friday, September 21, 2012 at 11:15 AM - 0 Comments
Henderson remembers how in 1972 he called for his teammate to get off the ice so he could make the shot
Sept. 28 will mark the 40th anniversary of Canadian hockey’s iconic goal. When Paul Henderson scored in the last minute of the final game of the 1972 Canada-U.S.S.R. Summit Series, it electrified a nation that had been on an emotional roller coaster since the Soviet Union’s stunning Game One victory on Sept. 2. Henderson, a good but not great NHLer, had already risen magnificently to the occasion, and had scored the winning goals in the sixth and seventh games. In his memoir, The Goal of My Life, Henderson describes Game Eight’s indelible moment.
Time ticked down. There was less than a minute to play at Luzhniki Arena in Moscow and the fans, including the 3,000 Canadians present, were on the edge of their seats. Phil Esposito, Yvan Cournoyer, and Peter Mahovlich were on the ice in that final minute as I watched from the bench. I then did something I had never done before, and would never do again in my hockey career.
“Pete! Pete!” I hollered at him. Don’t ask me how or why, but I felt if I could get out there one more time I could score a goal. I just felt it. For the first time in my life I was screaming at a player to get off the ice so I could get on, just one more time. You just didn’t do that—I had never heard another player do it in my 18-year hockey career—but I did.
By Jonathon Gatehouse - Thursday, September 13, 2012 at 5:00 AM - 0 Comments
The NHL commissioner brought hockey to its knees, twice. Get ready for the third period.
As talks between the NHL and its players’ association over a new collective bargaining agreement sputter and the owner-imposed Sept. 15 deadline looms, another hockey lockout seems all but certain. It will be the sport’s third work stoppage in the past 18 years, although the issues are the same as always: “money and envy,” writes Jonathon Gatehouse in The Instigator: How Gary Bettman Remade the League and Changed the Game Forever. After winning the toughest salary cap in all of pro sports the last time around, team owners are now pushing for further gains—redefining what counts as revenue, limiting the length of contracts and, above all, reducing the players’ share of the pie. Despite record revenues of $3.3 billion last season, the men who run the game claim that the economics of hockey still don’t work. Donald Fehr, the new executive director of the NHLPA and the man who crushed the resolve of Major League Baseball owners, is openly skeptical. And the issues are so complex that they may well take months to negotiate—once the two sides return to the table. Bettman, who will celebrate his 20th anniversary in the NHL’s top job this winter, is facing a formidable foe. But the commissioner shouldn’t be underestimated. Now the single most powerful figure in the history of pro hockey, he’s a man who drew some sharp lessons from his rocky start in the job. And when push comes to shove, he’s more than capable of dealing them out too. Fans trying to make sense of the present dispute best look back at what really happened in 1994 and 2005.
As 1994’s training camps wound down and the league’s deadline loomed, the players began to chafe. And the message they decided to send out to NHL fans across North America was anything but subtle. In Montreal, Habs defenceman Mathieu Schneider skated onto the ice for practice with a piece of white stick tape plastered to the front of his helmet on which he’d scrawled the words Bettman sucks. Joe Sakic, the quiet young captain of the Quebec Nordiques, suggested the new commissioner “knows nothing about hockey and doesn’t care.” Cam Neely, sitting in the Boston dressing room in his long underwear and an NHLPA ball cap, predicted a dire future for any league that would dare to lock out its players: “They’re not shooting themselves in the foot, they’re shooting themselves in the head as far as I’m concerned.” And even Wayne Gretzky, a man so averse to controversy that he invited Alan Thicke to emcee his wedding, weighed in. Wearing a suit, tie and sour face, he met the media at the LA Kings’ practice facility to make it clear that if the season didn’t start on time, there would only be one man to blame. “I’ve played this game for 30 years, and for someone to come along who has only been in our sport for one year and tell us that we’re not going to play is very frustrating and extremely disappointing,” the Great One said. “I’ve worked too damn hard to help push our sport … Hopefully it doesn’t all come down because one person wants to change the format.”
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, February 16, 2010 at 1:57 PM - 35 Comments
NBC reported today that the Prime Minister is working on a book about hockey. This June, coincidentally, will mark the fifth anniversary of Stephen Harper’s book about hockey. For the record, here’s how the Globe reported the tome into existence on the morning of June 18, 2005.
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper is known for his intellect and policy-wonk ways. However, he is also an armchair sports fan (the Toronto Maple Leafs come to mind) and is planning to publish a book that has nothing to do with politics or policy. Rather, Mr. Harper is penning a tome on the history of professional hockey in Alberta. Harper insiders say that he began researching and writing the book as a hobby but it has become a more serious venture as he acquired more and more information. He is researching it from primary sources, and firsthand accounts dating back to the turn of the last century, says a friend, who is familiar with the progress of the book.