Hockey Essay, Research Paper

Is 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.

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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