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Paper about Canadian identity and ice hockey

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Old
08-07-2012, 10:40 AM
  #1
turkulad
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Paper about Canadian identity and ice hockey

Hello History board dwellers!

A long while back, I was asking for possible source recommendations for my ice hockey essay about Canadian identity. I didn't get many, but luckily a faculty member at my dept. gave me good directions by suggesting I investigate through Ken Dryden and Roy MacGregor's book "Home Game" the makings of the Canadian identity and how ice hockey is effecting it. Somehow the project became humongous and what started as an innocent project became a 33-page-long investigation into Canadian ice hockey. It touches on socio-cultural, political and historical spheres and it was quite a handful for me.

I'm releasing the project on academia.edu if my department allows me to do it, but would love to hear some feedback on it before casting it out to the internet for everyone to read. Writing about Canadian identity as a Finn whose only connection to Canada is through a half-year-long exchange period and a boatload of hours spent on reading about, watching and discussing ice hockey.. so any feedback is welcome.

I'm sharing with you a google docs, so feel free to read it and comment on it here or with the comment functions within the document. I'm already at a defensive stance to begin with, since the topic is indeed hard for me.. so please be hard on me if you feel like it, but refrain from flaming. Thanks in advance!

The link is here. Please don't spread it forward to other parts of HFB or anywhere outside this thread for that matter - I consider the posters at the History of Hockey the most intelligent and analytical of the bunch, hence the decision to post this here only.

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08-07-2012, 10:44 AM
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Quick note to anyone reading this thread - I've approved it.

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08-07-2012, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turkulad View Post
Hello History board dwellers!

A long while back, I was asking for possible source recommendations for my ice hockey essay about Canadian identity. I didn't get many, but luckily a faculty member at my dept. gave me good directions by suggesting I investigate through Ken Dryden and Roy MacGregor's book "Home Game" the makings of the Canadian identity and how ice hockey is effecting it. Somehow the project became humongous and what started as an innocent project became a 33-page-long investigation into Canadian ice hockey. It touches on socio-cultural, political and historical spheres and it was quite a handful for me.
Sounds really interesting, I'll start reading when I have some larger blocks of spare time I can devote to it. Maybe later this weekend.

Quote:
I'm releasing the project on academia.edu if my department allows me to do it, but would love to hear some feedback on it before casting it out to the internet for everyone to read. Writing about Canadian identity as a Finn whose only connection to Canada is through a half-year-long exchange period and a boatload of hours spent on reading about, watching and discussing ice hockey.. so any feedback is welcome.
I actually see this as something of an advantage. You are more emotionally detached from the subject matter, which makes it easier (in my opinion) to approach it from a scholarly analytical perspective rather than an overly personal one.

Quote:
I'm sharing with you a google docs, so feel free to read it and comment on it here or with the comment functions within the document. I'm already at a defensive stance to begin with, since the topic is indeed hard for me.. so please be hard on me if you feel like it, but refrain from flaming. Thanks in advance!
I'd hope no one (at least no one here) would flame someone over a scholarly research project.

Quote:
The link is here. Please don't spread it forward to other parts of HFB or anywhere outside this thread for that matter - I consider the posters at the History of Hockey the most intelligent and analytical of the bunch, hence the decision to post this here only.
Thanks for giving us access, as mentioned I'll try to find time to give it a substantial look.

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08-08-2012, 04:46 AM
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turkulad
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Epsilon View Post
I actually see this as something of an advantage. You are more emotionally detached from the subject matter, which makes it easier (in my opinion) to approach it from a scholarly analytical perspective rather than an overly personal one.

I'd hope no one (at least no one here) would flame someone over a scholarly research project.

Thanks for giving us access, as mentioned I'll try to find time to give it a substantial look.
Well I'd sure hope people wouldn't flame it.. but going on to explain through analysis things about the fabric of the Canadian identity is a daring task, so that's why I'm overly careful about it. If I get it wrong or the tone is too self-assure, it might become a flawed piece. The native, amateur feedback (over academic) is what in my mind gives the paper its final verdict. Even the Finnish staff at my North American Studies Program faculty can't match that.

And thank you for reading!

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08-08-2012, 06:02 AM
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Originally Posted by turkulad View Post
.. but going on to explain through analysis things about the fabric of the Canadian identity is a daring task, so that's why I'm overly careful about it. If I get it wrong or the tone is too self-assure, it might become a flawed piece. The native, amateur feedback (over academic) is what in my mind gives the paper its final verdict.
If you don't want to offend anybody you might as well stay out of academic studies. The purpose of science is to get closer to the truth, not to make friends with people who believe in their nation as a god-given sanctuary.

That said, I'm very interested in the study and I'm starting to read it right now.

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08-08-2012, 06:30 AM
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Theokritos
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Page 12:

Sergei Priakin: "the first time a Soviet athlete played with any North American professional sports team."
Not correct. Victor Nechaev played in the NHL in 1982-1983. See:
http://internationalhockeylegends.bl...r-nechaev.html
http://www.hockeydraftcentral.com/1982/82132.html

"USSR Coach Vladimir Tretiak"
The name is Viktor Tikhonov, Tretiak was a goaltender (with the first name Vladislav by the way).


Last edited by Theokritos: 08-08-2012 at 06:43 AM.
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08-08-2012, 06:41 AM
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Page 14:

The Soviets extended their hockey season to 11 months
Well, they (or at least the Red Army Team) trained for 11 months a year under Tikhonov (I don't exactly know about the earlier time). But they didn't extend the lenght of the season to 11 months, the national championship was played from September to April/May. 7 months, include the World Championship and you have 8 months - very similiar to the NHL.

Page 21:
Back in 1966...the league enlargened to six new locations
The expansion was in 1967.


Last edited by Theokritos: 08-08-2012 at 06:56 AM.
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08-08-2012, 07:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Theokritos View Post
Page 21:
Back in 1966...the league enlargened to six new locations
The expansion was in 1967.
The six franchises were founded (ie. the league granted them) in 1966; this is probably what he's referring to. Though I agree that it can be confusing, since we generally consider the genesis of a new team based on the season in which they begin play, which was 1967.

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08-08-2012, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Buck Aki Berg View Post
The six franchises were founded (ie. the league granted them) in 1966; this is probably what he's referring to. Though I agree that it can be confusing, since we generally consider the genesis of a new team based on the season in which they begin play, which was 1967.
Indeed, this was the context I was going with, as the year when then franchises were awarded (and thus the financial conquest achieved) was the one that mattered, but I might rewrite the wording to make this more emphasized and less ambiguous.

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08-08-2012, 02:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theokritos View Post
Page 12:

Sergei Priakin: "the first time a Soviet athlete played with any North American professional sports team."
Not correct. Victor Nechaev played in the NHL in 1982-1983. See:
http://internationalhockeylegends.bl...r-nechaev.html
http://www.hockeydraftcentral.com/1982/82132.html

"USSR Coach Vladimir Tretiak"
The name is Viktor Tikhonov, Tretiak was a goaltender (with the first name Vladislav by the way).
About the 11 months thing, the season indeed wasn't the one that was as lengthy, but the training season itself, as the Soviets were adamant on honing their craft and building their style to match a well-oiled machine, more into an orchestrated piece than a display of individual skill. Surprising how the stereotypical Russian player is always the exact opposite, the inevitable soloist with problems in teamwork. Maybe it's a backlash of both the rigid Soviet system collapsing and thus players/coaches over-correcting, and the fact that only the finest individual talent was imported to the NHL, as lesser talent wasn't worth the hassle. Makes one wonder.

And as for these two points quoted here, you're totally correct. The Nechaev trivia was something my original sources (newspapers of the time) didn't know, so kudos! And the Tretiak-Tikhonov slip-up was a total accident, and something I hadn't noticed so far.. thanks a bunch

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08-08-2012, 02:35 PM
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Quote:
the league enlargened to six new locations
"expanded" might be the word you're looking for

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08-08-2012, 03:11 PM
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On page 24, you contrast Don Cherry and others supporting a traditional Canadian hockey "dominant, war-like" spirit with a traditional stereotype of Canadians as modest, polite, and diplomatic. Yet these two things are not in conflict. The traditional view is that Canadians don't talk a big game or draw attention to ourselves. We just get it done on the ice. See Bobby Orr, Don Cherry's favourite hockey player. He was a very humble, unassuming man who just put his head down after he scored, but he was as tough as they come on the ice as well.

Your discussion about the conflicts between the business of modern NHL hockey and Canadian identity are spot on. NHL teams have, in the past few decades, tried to be public institutions where it benefitted them, and private organizations where it benefitted them. Always ready to appeal to civic pride for a government handout, and also ready to pull up and leave if they can make more money elsewhere. It's a disgrace and it isn't particularly Canadian either. The real Canadian hockey spirit is in the thousand of small rinks around the country, not in the ice palaces extorted from taxpayers by greedy billionaires and filled with corporate suits deducting their high ticket cost as a business expense.

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08-08-2012, 11:33 PM
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I'm interested to read this. I just finished a fantastic book about Dutch soccer and identity written by an Englishman, so this sounds right up my alley.

Quick scan impressions: You write in English better than some North American journalism students do. Page 16, "stanley cups" should be capitalized. Page 17 as well, but it's also correct on that page. Do a find and replace page 28 at the top twice, did you mean "rinks" instead of rings?


Last edited by Silver: 08-09-2012 at 12:07 AM.
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08-09-2012, 04:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overpass View Post
On page 24, you contrast Don Cherry and others supporting a traditional Canadian hockey "dominant, war-like" spirit with a traditional stereotype of Canadians as modest, polite, and diplomatic. Yet these two things are not in conflict. The traditional view is that Canadians don't talk a big game or draw attention to ourselves. We just get it done on the ice. See Bobby Orr, Don Cherry's favourite hockey player. He was a very humble, unassuming man who just put his head down after he scored, but he was as tough as they come on the ice as well.

Your discussion about the conflicts between the business of modern NHL hockey and Canadian identity are spot on. NHL teams have, in the past few decades, tried to be public institutions where it benefitted them, and private organizations where it benefitted them. Always ready to appeal to civic pride for a government handout, and also ready to pull up and leave if they can make more money elsewhere. It's a disgrace and it isn't particularly Canadian either. The real Canadian hockey spirit is in the thousand of small rinks around the country, not in the ice palaces extorted from taxpayers by greedy billionaires and filled with corporate suits deducting their high ticket cost as a business expense.
Thank you for Jagomir and Silver for the grammar fixes.

And I have to admit, overpass, that you raise a valid point. This might be a thing I must rewrite. Since I think there's still a weird oxymoron with the way patriotism is present with the stereotype to an excess, but this might just the flabbergasted me, who was dumbstruck with the amount of military-related topics on HNIC once watching it became a routine in Canada. But maybe the Summit Series and its violence is something I might have to focus on with an additional chapter. I will get back to this. Thanks for the notice.

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08-09-2012, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by turkulad View Post
And I have to admit, overpass, that you raise a valid point. This might be a thing I must rewrite. Since I think there's still a weird oxymoron with the way patriotism is present with the stereotype to an excess, but this might just the flabbergasted me, who was dumbstruck with the amount of military-related topics on HNIC once watching it became a routine in Canada. But maybe the Summit Series and its violence is something I might have to focus on with an additional chapter. I will get back to this. Thanks for the notice.
I believe the military topics on HNIC are in large part due to the influence of Don Cherry. Others who remember more of HNIC's history may be able to give a better opinion.

It is unusual within a Canadian context. I can see how it would be jarring to Europeans. It would probably seem more normal to Americans.

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08-09-2012, 01:06 PM
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Military and the NHL

Quote:
Originally Posted by overpass View Post
I believe the military topics on HNIC are in large part due to the influence of Don Cherry. Others who remember more of HNIC's history may be able to give a better opinion.

It is unusual within a Canadian context. I can see how it would be jarring to Europeans. It would probably seem more normal to Americans.
Military and the NHL go back to Conn Smythe and WWII, Rememberance Day and so forth.

Then you have the origins of the Memorial Cup - remembering OHA players who died in WWI

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memorial_Cup

Also Clarence Campbell, long time president of the NHL had a military background, Nuremberg trials.

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01-16-2013, 09:31 AM
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I'm bumping up this thread, since it's already been a few months since I got my original paper approved by my department, and it's since been available at Academia.edu. Feel free to give it a read if it interests you. Some of the topic issues were adapted upon examination but considering that the paper was already there with its length (and I wasn't given any leeway in further expanding it), the military aspect for example wasn't further expanded.

Once again I would like to thank all of your for your support and assistance in fact checking and giving me insight in matters discussed in the paper!

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01-16-2013, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Military and the NHL go back to Conn Smythe and WWII, Rememberance Day and so forth.... Then you have the origins of the Memorial Cup - remembering OHA players who died in WWI. Also Clarence Campbell, long time president of the NHL had a military background, Nuremberg trials.
Indeed. You also had Major Frederic McLaughlin in Chicago, who during WW1 had been a Commander of the 333rd Machine Gun Battalion, and who had outbid Big Jim Norris for the franchise. McLaughlin's Division was apparently known as the Blackhawks due to its roots in Illinois, named after Chief Black Hawk, a legendary Native American & Warrior from the region.

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01-16-2013, 01:16 PM
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Nice paper OP. Speaking of the military / NHL ties (one can also use the Winnipeg Jets / RCAF thing as an example), I believe that is because the NHL has strong historic ties to working class Scottish Canadians, who do tend to have a robust patriotism and military appreciation within their community.

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