Hockey in the United States Essay

Pages: 4 (1264 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Sports

Hockey

In the United States, hockey is sometimes the subject of light-hearted mockery about its being the "whitest of sports." Part of the reason is that it is true - few sports in North America have a higher percentage of white players. But the other part of the reason is that hockey's racial makeup often goes undocumented or consigned to the curiosity bin. Canadians celebrate that Jackie Robinson played in Montreal before breaking baseball's colour barrier, but few would recognize the name of Willie O'Ree. Fans are familiar with names like Bryan Trottier, Wade Redden and Sheldon Souray, but few could tell you that they are all Metis. This paper will explore the topic of race as it relates to Canada's national game. Is the perceived whiteness in hockey the result of racism, ignorance, or demographics?

The Backcheck website presents a view of hockey that is largely white, save for the page on Aboriginal Hockey that outlines the rich history of native involvement in the game. This would seem to indicate that hockey is, simply, a white game. The demographics support this contention, to a certain extent. Until recent decades, Canada has been an overwhelmingly white country. Aside from the aforementioned O'Ree, natives were the only non-whites to play in the NHL. As Canada became more multicultural and the NHL added more teams, more natives and more blacks had the opportunity to play in the NHL. In recent decades, Canada has become significantly more multicultural. This has given rise to more non-whites in the NHL but as yet their numbers lag that of the population as a whole.Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Essay on Hockey in the United States, Hockey Is Assignment

Probably the oldest ethnic group yet to make an impact in the NHL are Asians. The Chinese played a vital role in building the transcontinental railroad in the 1800s and went on to become of Vancouver's founding cultures. Yet, the game has failed to take hold in that community. Gruneau and Wilson (1993) examine the role of masculinity in hockey. The game, they point out, is a "continuous contest in which the use of force to neutralize the speed and skill is a matter of course." Asian culture does not support the ideals of the application of force, nor does it support hockey's other ideals such as the emphasis of individualism. Indeed, hockey was borne of a certain set of cultural attributes in 19th century white society that were, and are, by and large incongruous with Asian cultural values. As a result, neither Western sporting culture nor any of the individual sports that emerged from that period took hold in Asian countries (Brownell, 1995). Furthermore, the typical Asian phenotype of small physical size creates a non-cultural barrier to hockey participation.

The other longstanding cultures - black and native - did embrace hockey, however. The issue with natives sometimes boils down to ignorance. The white historians and pundits either do not know which players are native or they do not care. Hockey has long been a melting pot. As a uniquely Canadian cultural artifact, immigrants from other countries arrive unfamiliar. They adopt the game as a means to fit in. This assimilation comes at a price. In the Puck Artist, Levi Dronyk addresses this issue in discussing his lack of skills in his native Ukrainian. "To compete with the English," he points out, "is to learn their language." As a child growing up in Canada, there was a rift between the pull of community and the need to interact, especially on the ice. Even between English and French, the there was considerable need for children to stay within strictly defined cultural norms, as shown in Roch Carrier's the Hockey Sweater and Michael McKinley's Next Year. In both of those stories, the narrator faced pressure to only cheer for the local team. If that sort of… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Hockey in the United States.  (2008, November 17).  Retrieved February 28, 2021, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/hockey-united-states/748026

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"Hockey in the United States."  17 November 2008.  Web.  28 February 2021. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/hockey-united-states/748026>.

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"Hockey in the United States."  Essaytown.com.  November 17, 2008.  Accessed February 28, 2021.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/hockey-united-states/748026.