Saturday, April 16, 2011

Exploring the Stereotype (Yes, It's About Hockey)

According to the dictionary a stereotype is a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing. The question I want to explore is this. Is hockey really as important to Canadians as the stereotype would indicate? I would like to argue that hockey is just a game, and it is silly to think that it could somehow inform all aspects of our lives. It shouldn't be difficult to find examples of life North of 49 that don't revolve around wooden sticks and a puck.

How about the workplace? After all, Canadians are highly skilled, dedicated workers. Sure, there might be some discussion of the game while having coffee or lunch with your colleagues, but in the actual workplace I am sure undivided attention will be on the job at hand. Oh........

From the CBC:

B.C. surgeons are being reminded to cut the hockey chatter and other unrelated banter in the operating room.
The practical advice comes after a patient complained about a surgeon discussing a hockey game with nurses, said Dr. Heidi Oetter, registrar of the province's College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Well, maybe hockey has seeped into the workplace, but surely it has been kept out of the workings of the government. After all, as a nation Canada's goal is to score on the world political scene, not the ice. Oops........

Again, from the CBC:

Politics and hockey went head to head Sunday and, in the end, the nation's winter pastime held the bigger stick.
The parties and the broadcast consortium producing this week's televised leaders debates have agreed to move the French-language debate — originally scheduled for Thursday — up a day after a conflict arose with the NHL playoffs.

Okay, I have to concede that hockey has permeated both the workplace and the halls of government, but there is one other segment of our society that I am sure has remained hockey-free. You see, we are a country with a huge immigrant population. Sure, immigrants from places like Russia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia might be hockey fans. The game is quite popular in those northern countries. However, the majority of our immigrant population is from Asia, and let's face it - there's not a lot of ice hockey being played in Hong Kong or India. Wait a minute. What's this......?

From Sukhpreetsingh's Posterous blog:

"CBC Sports announced today that they are bringing back the very popular Hockey Night in Canada PUNJABI EDITION. The broadcast will air every Saturday covering the doubleheader games this entire season. The broadcast will also include covers of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
There was considerable outcry and disappointment by the Punjabi community across Canada when the broadcast was cancelled this year at the beginning of the 2010/2011 NHL Season. The campaign to reinstate the Punjabi broadcast was led by Sikh youth across Canada in all major cities who gathered petitions and wrote letters to the CBC."

So just how big is hockey in Canada? This picture of Kate's son over at Rocks, Waves, Beach sums it up nicely.

These YouTube clips are for all my non-Canadian readers. (I am only saying non-Canadians because there isn't a Canadian alive who hasn't already seen these.) Absolutely without a doubt the two best commercials ever. And to prove my original point that The Sport doesn't permeate all areas of life North of 49, the second one has nothing to do with hockey.



  1. Oh yes.

    I think baseball comes close to the same national absorption in the US?

    I totally want to know who Peter Puck in Punjabi is!

    That second commercial always makes me cry.

    Go Canucks Go!!

  2. It's funny how just a game can bring people together, help them to connect.

    Having never seen a Hortons commercial, I didn't expect to get verklempt watching them. I joked once that Tim Hortons secretly controlled Canada--and a Canadian reader commented it was no secret. =)

    Go Capitals!!! =)

  3. Those are well done commercials, I must say.

    Go Canucks go!!!

  4. Maybe I'm the only Canadian who hadn't seen these commercials, but they were great and I cried on both. Thanks for keeping me current :)

    In my houseful of males there is only one thing to say "Go Canucks go!!!"

  5. @kate - Baseball is certainly popular, but it doesn't grip the whole nation the way hockey does in Canada. I was wondering about Peter Puck in Punjabi too. And both of those commercials make me cry.

    @ Sorry to have made you get verklempt. I should have issued a warning about the content. And you can't be serious about the Capitals....

    @ Aneta - Whoever wrote those commercials was a genius. Hopefully they have gone on to do something with their talent other than write TV ads.

    @Maureen - I am glad I was able to introduce you to them! And never mind in your house of males, I think there is only one thing to say in this whole province. Go Canucks!

  6. Haha, I'm hoping for a Canucks vs Capitals final. Believe it or not, the Caps were regular season conference champs, just like the Canucks.

  7. I have been a Habs fan always, even though I grew up watching the Rangers. (My Granpa was from Quebec) Great commericials. Although they play hockey here in Minnesota, it's not the same passion for sure. My husband watched the Cricket World Cup on indian feeds, I can't wait to show him Hockey Night in Punjabi!

  8. @Ric - if they both make it to the final we might have to have a friendly wager!

    @Mary Lou - I had always thought hockey was as popular in Minnesota as it is in Canada. I hope your husband enjoys Hockey Night in Punjabi. If he looks on Facebook I think they actually have a group there too!