How hockey explains Canada

First aired on Airplay (2/11/11) summitseries-175.jpg

It may not please everyone in the country, but it is a fact: hockey is our national obsession. The changes in the game mirror some of the changes in our society, and some of our most important historic events, the things that unite us all, have taken place on a frozen sheet of ice. At least that's the idea behind Jim Prime's book, How Hockey Explains Canada: The Sport That Defines a Country.

Each chapter takes a uniquely Canadian person, place or event — Marshall McLuhan, Confederation and Toronto are among them — and discusses how hockey can explain how these influential entities came to be. From our cold weather to our reputation as an exceptionally polite people, Prime argues that hockey can explain it all. "The game has had a huge impact on our country and it does define us in many ways."

Canadians are also known for being able to make fun of ourselves. In fact, the book even started out as a gentle ribbing of Canadian culture. Prime was supplied the title of the book by his publisher, but was game to take the challenge on. "I decided that if they wanted me to write a book about how hockey explains Canada," he said, "I'm going to take them at their word and go all out."

And go all out he did. Prime spoke to 35 people who were influential in the hockey community, and was surprised by how many connections he found between Canadian identity and the game we love. "It is a game that reflects our geography, it reflects our cold weather, it reflects us coming together as a people in hard times."

If anyone questions hockey's important role in defining this country, Prime is quick to point out how the entire country came together in 2010 when our national men's hockey team won gold at the Vancouver Olympics or how we, to this day, discuss Paul Henderson's Summit Series winning goal in 1972. It is a sport that this country invented, embraced and continues to love. For Prime, "hockey is an important part of being Canadian."

Hockey may explain Canada. But maybe it makes more sense to say that Canada explains hockey.

100 Days that Changed Canada

How Hockey Explains Canada: The Sport That Defines A Country.

by Paul Henderson and Jim Prime

Buy this book at:

Save on Music, Books and Dvds at Indigo

From the publisher:

"What is it about Canada and Canadians that inspires such unbridled passion for this simple game of ice, puck and stick? How Hockey Explains Canada attempts to answer those and many other questions by delving into the hearts and minds of players, announcer, writers, coaches, and fans from coast-to-coast-to-coast."

Read more at Triumph Books.

Comments are closed.