Okay, so not quite fulfilling my New Year’s resolution to blog once a week

At least not here. But I did, for This Magazine last week, on how hockey is, in its modern incarnation, an elitist and un-Canadian sport. Saying as much is apparently is a kind of controversial thing to do while the nation is stoking its Olympics-fuelled sense of patriotic pride and the men’s Team Canada hockey team is on their way to a gold medal win. Oh, well.

Any sport that requires such a money sink is self-stratifying. It’s a terrible social phenomenon happening not just in amateur sports, but also in skyrocketing university tuition, extra fees required even in public school, laptops and other technological gadgets that are now virtually mandatory in academic and professional spheres. It also means at the highest level, the NHL, as in many other places in life, those that succeed are the ones that can afford it. It’s disheartening that all these opportunities are moving further and further out of reach of low-earning Canadians families.

When [hockey is] put on a cultural pedestal, it demands a fairness and accessibility that befits the morals of the country it represents. I think most Canadians believe we are a fair, free and equal country. Hockey, if it ever did represent that, doesn’t anymore.

The spirit of a nation comes from its people, emblematic of their shared experience, ethnicity, history or culture. Our spirit is that we lack all these, and instead take polite pride in them all. We are not one dish, one national dress, one language, one music (I would defect if Anne Murray or Celine Dion were our national chanteuses). How, then, can Canada reduce its sport to just one?

Read the whole thing here. I plan on elaborating a bit more on growing up in Hockeyville Richmond Hill later on this blog.

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