Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 06/03/13 at 09:00 AM ET
from Robert Emmet Mara of the Baltimore Post-Examiner,
There are many signs across the nation of our degeneration. Broken windows in rusting factories are surrounded by buckled sidewalks in empty cities. Stagnant wages and massive job losses have many of us at others’ throats over proxy issues like race, faith or sexual preference. Most of this wouldn’t matter if more of us were better employed, if employed at all. Still, not all things American have gotten worse since 1980. Ice hockey is one example.
In twenty years, (1990-2010) USA hockey has grown 142 percent from over 195,000 youngsters playing to almost 475,000. Since 2011, the number of youth hockey players has surpassed a half million. Many observers attribute this growth in amateur hockey to the success of U.S. Olympic team that won gold at Lake Placid in 1980. Still, many forget who influenced the players from that team. For those of us who grew up in the Northeast then, there was no greater influence before Lake Placid than Boston Bruins number ‘4’, Bobby Orr.
Yes, I know the knock on hockey in the U.S. That it is white and largely confined to the middle and upper classes. While, in part, it is true that hockey has become a sport for America’s well-heeled suburbs, those of us who grew up playing the game on roller skates in the streets of cities are simply happy the sport has grown and is now competitive with programs of traditional powerhouses, Canada and Russia.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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