Hockey (840 words) Essay

HockeyIs Hockey Being Lost as a Canadian Game? Hockey, to many Canadians
it is their favourite sport or pastime. This game is a part of Canadian’s
heritage. Although with the ongoing ?Americanizing? of Canada, it is only
a matter of time before Canada’s game is changed as well. The NHL,
National Hockey League, is the professional league for hockey. In the
past, and still today, Canadians have made up the greater part of the
leagues players. The article NHL Melting Pot gives statistics and a graph
of which nationalities were and are playing in the league. In 1967,
Canadian born players made up nearly 97% of the NHL. ?With the influx
of players from other countries, the NHL is beginning to look like the
United Nations on ice.? (Card#3) Now Canadians are only 66.2% of the
population in the league. The American born players are slowly sneaking
up at 16.6%, the second largest nationality. The gap does not look that
tight, however when you consider the time in which this jump has taken
place, it will get closer sooner instead of later. In the article, ?The New
Ice Age? it gives statistics on the recent jump in American and other
players into the NHL. In 1983, out of 21 teams there were 409 Canadian
born players to 68 American born players and 47 European players
(Only showing the top 25 players on each teams roster). In 1992, out of
24 teams there were 396 Canadian born players to 101 American
players and a surprising 103 Europeans (Only showing the top 25 players
on each of the teams). ? The increase of American and European players
in recent years is changing the look of the NHL.? (Card#2) The
American, and European invasion is making hockey everyone’s game and
not just Canada’s. Why would this bother Canadians? Why not share
their national pride in hockey? Many Canadians feel that hockey is the
last thing that they can truly call their own. ? Hockey Night In Canada has
been one of the five most- watched television shows here (Canada) every
year since the dawn of television, and, in Parliament, a National Hockey
Caucus monitors the Canadian-ness of the game.? (Card#5) This was
said by Ken Dryden, a former NHL player in an interview with reporter
Mary Williams Walsh is Saskatchewan. Dryden says that one by one the
things that Canada stands for and its time honoured institutions are being
dismantled. The fear is that in the end, Canada’s culture and society will
be indistinguishable from the U.S. , ? Hockey is more than the Canadian
national pastime: it is a passion, a cultural icon, as tied up in the it-ness of
Canada as soccer is to Brazil or the bullfight to Spain.? Card#5) All
across the country nationalist’s see hockey as another precious piece of
the country slipping away into the American market. The NHL itself
which used to be dominated by Canadians is even becoming more and
more like the other U.S. leagues as far as the way it is run and the players
involved. The Winnipeg Jets were yet another Canadian team that had to
move to the U.S. This is becoming a normal event for Northern teams.

The ?Cities to the South? are saying they have bigger markets and the
money to do better. The NHL, according to Dryden, is not concerned
with the game anymore, only the money. This is where the difference
between Canadian thought and American thinking comes into play.

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Canadians are concerned with the game because it’s theirs, American’s
see the game as a money making opportunity and a business. Gary
Bettman , the commissioner of the NHL, has not made matters any
better, or easier. In 1996 the Winnipeg Jets left Winnipeg for Phoenix
Arizona, with absolutely no sympathy from Gary Bettman. Thousands of
upset fans went out onto the ice after the game, and stayed for a long,
long time. ? We thought Gary Bettman was going to be the saviour of the
NHL. All he did was Americanize the product.? said long time season
ticket holder Ron Wersch. The Jets were just another team in the loss to
the American market. The Quebec Nordiques moved to Colorado a
couple of years ago as well. And threats of losing more teams such as the
Calgary Flames or the Edmonton Oilers or the Ottawa Senators are
always lingering in the air. For many Canadian hockey lovers this does
not sit very well. One of those die hards is Don Cherry. Cherry is a
retired coach in the NHL, now a broadcaster and to many people a
figurehead for hockey, and even more so Canada. Cherry provides some
reasons for hockey leaving the grasp of Canadians. ? Foreigners have
really brought a lot to hockey. They brought helmets. They brought
visors. They brought diving, laying there and letting on that your hurt.

They brought advertising on the boards and ice. Beautiful. This is not the
kind of hockey people like.? These are the aspects of the game that
Cherry says have taken away, piece by piece, the Canadian game.

Hockey being lost as a Canadian game? The game itself may be taking
flight down south, but the hearts of Canadians will always have a place for
Hockey. If there is one aspect of Canadian culture that won’t be
Americanized in the hearts of Canadians, it’s hockey.
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