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08-09-2012, 10:44 PM
Czech Your Math
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
The owner of the Chicago Blackhawks tried an experiment where he would sign Americans just for the sake of signing them, in hopes of making the Hawks "America's Team." The experiment ended sometime before World War 2. With the exception of Frank Brimsek and a couple of role players , the NHL was basically Canadian-only league during the Original 6 period.

I used to agree with your last point, until it was pointed out to me that most of Canada's population growth since World War 2 has been from immigration and aging, two pools that add very little to the hockey playing population
I must have misunderstood your point about only two sport in NA at that time. I just doubt that hockey is being drained of a lot of potential NHL players by other major league sports. I know Tom Glavine and Kirk McCaskill became pitchers, but those are likely relatively rare exceptions.

How does immigration not add to hockey playing population? I know the population of hockey age has plateaued, but still it was a factor:

"Prior to World War I, Gretzky's paternal grandfather Anton (Tony) Gretzky immigrated along with his family to Canada via the United States from the Russian Empire (what is now Grodno, Belarus). Following the war, Anton would marry his wife, Mary, who immigrated from Pidhaitsi, interwar Poland (now Ukraine). Tony and Mary owned a 25-acre (10 ha) cucumber farm in Canning, Ontario."

"Sakic was born in Burnaby to Marijan and Slavica Sakic (originally Šakić, Croatian, immigrants from Croatia in what was then Yugoslavia. Growing up in Burnaby, he did not learn to speak English well until kindergarten, having been raised with Croatian as his mother tongue. At the age of four Sakic attended his first NHL game, a match between the Vancouver Canucks and Atlanta Flames; after watching the game, Sakic decided that he wanted to become a hockey player."

"Sawchuk was born and raised in East Kildonan, a working-class, Ukrainian section of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He was the third of four sons and one adopted daughter of Louis Sawchuk, a tinsmith who had emigrated to Canada as a boy from Galicia, Austria–Hungary (now Ukraine)..."

"Bucyk was born in Edmonton to Sam and Perl Bucyk, Ukrainian immigrants from the village of Butsiv, in what is now Mostyska Raion, Lviv Oblast, Ukraine. The family was poor, with Perl working two jobs and his father, Sam, was unemployed for over four years"

Mikita and Mahovlich are other players whose family emigrated from Europe. Bossy has Ukrainian heritage (although I don't know when they emigrated) and his mother was British born (no emigration, no Bossy). I don't know about Hawerchuk, Tkachuk, etc. Yzerman's grandpa came over from the Netherlands in 1901, so I guess his grandpa at least had a chance to be a hockey player.

It's certainly not a stagnant pool of Anglo-Canadians over the last century.

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