Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: More Than Just a Hockey Game

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: More Than Just a Hockey Game

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: More than just a hockey game

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An editorial from the Winnipeg-Free-Press, published April 20:

Almost 19 years to the day, the Winnipeg Jets bring playoff hockey action back to the city. In 1996, the Jets lost to Detroit in the first round of the playoffs, ending the season and the franchise. Monday, the MTS centre will come alive as the Jets host Anaheim in game three of the series. The Jets are down two games, but that won't stop the city's enthusiasm. To paraphrase George Costanza: "We're back baby."

Anyone who thinks hockey is just a game isn't paying attention. It's no coincidence that former Tory leader Hugh McFadyen made bringing the Jets back as part of his campaign in 2007, and former premier Gary Doer vowed they'd return to the city, as well. It's no coincidence that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has penned a book about the history of hockey in this country: A Great Game. Hockey is more than a bunch of skaters on the ice and politicians know this.

Hockey is about belonging. It's about nationalism. It's how to unite a society against an identifiable enemy. Researchers talk about moments in history in which a society stands still to watch events as a collective. These media events serve to function as a way of reaffirming a collective identity.

Think back to the classics as examples. Team Canada's victory in 1972 against the Soviets. It was the height of the Cold War, and Canada's win thanks to Paul Henderson was viewed as a win not only for Canada but a win for capitalism and North American cultural values.

In 2010 and again in 2014, Canada's men's Olympic team brought home the gold first against the Americans and then in 2014 against the Swedes. In the 2010 game, economists tracked water consumption in Edmonton, and determined that water usage spiked during intermissions, as fans broke away from their TV screens to use the toilet. The win in 2010 against the Americans felt like sweet revenge -- a way of reclaiming Canada's defacto national game. …

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