Saturday, April 28, 2012

Hockey Is Canada?

"I don't care whether you're black, white, green, or purple I want my offensive players on this bus and the boys trying out for the defense on that bus."

Herman Boone from Remember the Titans

Two of the major themes in my blog have been bandwagon jumping (on and off) and intrinsic value. I can't help but take shots at the typical Filipino sports fan and two examples of those are here and here. Now if there is a bright side to that sometimes the Canadians are not too far behind the Filipinos in being so bush league about sports.

I was listening to CBC News how they try to portray that the hockey season is over for Canadians coast to coast because Ottawa the last Canadian NHL team in the playoffs got eliminated.I am sorry to all my Canadian friends who may read this but then you are admitting Hockey is not Canada. You all know that I think sports is a stupid arena in which to define one's national identity. But you know what's even more exponentially stupid is using professional sports to define one's national identity.

For those of you who do not know, professional sports is not about local culture. It's about business. A business that caters to the cities that a league is in and a business that provides TV programming to whatever locale on Earth that will tune into that sport. General Managers of any team will fill up their roster based on logistics like budget, quota, salary cap space, parity rules , need etc. It has nothing to do with nationalism or civic pride. Despite all that, tradition is somehow produced from that very cold process. Tradition like the New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Montreal Canadians, Boston Celtics, Green Bay Packers etc.

But let's take our example of the myth of the "Canadian" team in the NHL. The Ottawa Senators were Canada's last hope in the playoffs in 2012. How Canadian was Ottawa? Which is the capital of Canada for those of you who don't know.

Their roster was comprised of 6 from Sweden, 7 from the USA, 17 Canadians, a Frenchman , two from Czechoslovakia and finally two Russians.

I then took the roster of a random "American" team that is still playing. The St.Louis Blues. a Swede, 6 Americans, 19 Canadians , 3 from Czechoslovakia and a Russian.

You may draw your own conclusions from that but mine is, if you can play hockey then you can end up on an NHL playoff team regardless of nationality. Does it matter what city that team is in?

A study based on 2010-2011 NHL said that roughly half the league was Canadian, one fourth of it American and the rest from various places in the European continent. Canada is supposed to be Hockey but 1/4 of their league is compromised of people from a nation that cares more about football, basketball , baseball and NASCAR than hockey.

So Canada. Explain to me why you are hockey? You provide a slim numerical majority to the best hockey league on the planet. Your national network put out a story defining hockey as over after the first round with your own people on the street saying it. The playoffs are just getting going. There are thirty NHL teams and you have less than a third of them.

Actually I was in Canada when the systematic poaching of Canadian hockey teams began and it made anybody who gave a lick about tradition sick. That was the ultimate bandwagon moment. Taking teams that were part of the community fabric and plunking them in hockey hotbeds like Arizona and Nashville. In case there is a real hockey historian reading this , I know Nashville was an expansion team but it goes to my point that Quebec City and Winnipeg don't deserve big time hockey but Tampa Bay and Nashville do??? Hockey of the National Hockey League variety kept trying to be something they are not and they paid the price.

Actually over the years I have met many Canadians who do love their hockey. Guys who could tell you who was on the third line of the Colorado Avalanche. Does not change the fact the majority of people are bandwagon jumpers who do not care about the intrinsic beauty of a sport that is hockey. All they care about are being on the bandwagon.

For those of you who not familiar with the real Canadian tradition of hockey, a ten minute video can tell you more about it than a thousand of me. And that I will provide for you here. And if there was a thousand of me, run for your lives!!!!


1 comment:

Kendrick said...

If you thought that was bad, imagine last year. Having the Canucks (the team that Fil-Canadians and most Filipinos here root for, which I can attest bec my hockey teammates were mostly Canuck fans) in the Finals. I did the research and as far as being Canada's team goes, their opponents, the Boston Bruins had more Canadians on their team. It's ridiculous.