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The Importance Of Hockey In Canada

from Charlie Gillis of MACLEANS,

With $320,000, you could buy a home in a medium-sized Canadian city, or an education at an Ivy League university. Or, you could do as a growing number of parents do: spend it on personal trainers, road trips, sport psychologists and league fees in the faint hope your child will attain fame and fortune in hockey. Ken Campbell, a senior writer at the The Hockey News, and co-author Jim Parcels explore this phenomenon in Selling the Dream, a book about how hockey parents, kids and the game itself are paying a steep price for Canada’s national obsession.

Q: I was struck, as many hockey fans were, by an ad Nike ran just before Christmas, which played on a familiar and romantic notion linking pro hockey to scenes of frozen lakes and small-town arenas. How far does that imagery stand from today’s reality, as witnessed by a kid dreaming of an NHL career?

A: The dream is still pure for most people; hockey is and always will be an enormous part of the Canadian cultural fabric. But I want people, when they read this book, to realize that it’s time to dial things down a bit. Hockey has become almost too important in Canada; in a lot of ways, it’s all we have. We have athletes who excel in other sports, but the stakes in hockey have gotten so high that it seems all-pervading. People get caught up in the dream very quickly, and very easily.

continued

Filed in: Hockey Related Stories, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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I find this story ironic in that it seeks to expose Canadian obsession with hockey and the example they use is of an American family living on a boat in Ontario.

Q: The most striking story is that of a family from near Pittsburgh who lived on their sailboat off Port Credit, Ont., just so their son could play in the Greater Toronto Hockey League, because it’s considered one of the country’s premier minor hockey circuits. What became of them?

A: The kid played three seasons and actually did reasonably well. He went to play junior in the USHL and last year was the backup goalie at Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pa. But the chances of him doing anything in hockey beyond the college level are pretty remote. And the parents, who both quit their jobs and came to live with him in Toronto, have since split up. I don’t know whether this experience had anything to do with it, but they’re back in the U.S. trying to rebuild their lives.

Posted by timbits on 01/20/13 at 01:54 PM ET

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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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