Tag Archives: hockey

Oh Canada: Accepting Our Olympic Mediocrity As Fans

By Jason Menard

We’re just days away from the start of the 22nd Olympic Winter Games and after hitting the slopes yesterday, I’m feeling pretty athletic (OK, I was tubing, not doing anything actually physical). Maybe that’s why my feelings towards the Olympics have somewhat softened.

OK, who am I trying to kid? The Olympic movement still hits me in the bowels, but I’ve realized that my real issue, like Sloan once sang, “it’s not the band I hate, it’s their fans.Continue reading

Hockey: Not Our Game, But Our Gift

By Jason Menard,

The great game of hockey may have been born here, but it’s by no means our birthright. And it may be time to reflect upon some 40-year-old lessons that obviously haven’t been learned.

In 2014, the hand-wringing has already started. Back-to-back years where Team Canada has not medalled in the World Junior Championship has some questioning our nation’s hockey development. A gold-or-bust attitude already seems to surround discussions about the Olympic men’s squad. There’s been an unnatural fascination about eighth defensemen and 13th forwards.

There’s an underlying arrogance throughout all of this, which assumes that Canada in some way deserves the gold medal, without even needing to lace it up. All the other nations are pretenders to the throne. Continue reading

A Sure-Fire Way to Get Fighting Out of Hockey

By Jason Menard

When I was younger, I loved fighting in hockey. When I played, we’d mock throw down, dropping the gloves, trying to pull each others’ jerseys over our heads. As I got older, I became indifferent towards fighting. I could appreciate a good throw down as much as the next person, but, in general, I could take it or leave fighting.

Over recent years, I’ve seen less and less of a need for fighting in the game. The best hockey I’ve had the pleasure of watching was in the Canada Cup, the Olympics, and in the NHL playoffs — forums in which fighting was infrequent at best, non-existent for the most part.

Last night was the first time I actively wished a fight wouldn’t have happened. George Parros, early in the first period, squared off against Patrick Bordeleau of the Colorado Avalanche. It wasn’t a great tilt at all, but when Parros and Bordeleau hit the ice, I felt something in the pit of my stomach.

Fortunately, Parros was fine. But I shouldn’t have to worry about watching a player turned into a vegetable for a non-essential part of the game. Continue reading

In Hockey, Life, There’s No Place Like Home

By Jason Menard,

Whether your name is Dorothy or Dmitri, there really is no place like home.

In the wake of Alexander Burmistrov’s return to the KHL and Ilya Kovalchuk’s decision to forsake $77 million US to return to his homeland, the Winnipeg Sun’s Paul Friesen looked into whether teams should be concerned about drafting and investing in Russian players. Continue reading

Realignment Offers NHL a Historic Opportunity

By Jason Menard

You’re almost there, Gary. Winnipeg’s back, Quebec City may be on its way, and the National Hockey League’s realignment of teams into (relatively sensible) geographic regions has earned the league much praise. But one cosmetic change could make this realignment a historic success.

And that’s by embracing the league’s history. Continue reading

Fans Will Be Back Because the NHL is Home

By Jason Menard

Will NHL fans come flocking back to the league? Absolutely — it’s part of who we are and it’s part of what makes us a community.

I was asked this question yesterday by an old friend Scott Kitching on Blackburn Radio and I replied honestly: some fans may want to play hard ball, but once they start seeing the previous night’s highlights on TV, hearing the fans banter on sports talk radio, or overhearing the annual debates around the watercooler, they’ll want to be part of the action again.

Being an NHL fan isn’t just a choice — it’s a feeling.

And while I said and believed it yesterday; today I felt it for the first time in a long time. Continue reading

Canada and Hockey? Doing Just Fine, Thanks

By Jason Menard

For a country that’s known for quiet pride, politeness, and generally being unassuming on a global scale, when it comes to hockey, we can crank up the hyperbole machine with the best of them.

Don’t be surprised by a rise in carpal tunnel syndrome as a result of all the national hand-wringing brought about by the combination of the National Hockey League’s lock-out and a fourth-place finish by our under-20 squad at the World Junior Hockey Championship. Continue reading