March 12, 2004

Blame Canada? :'s Jim Kelley suggests that hockey violence is ingrained in Canadian hockey culture. Is he just being provocative, or is there an element of truth?

posted by waterbedk to hockey at 07:43 AM - 13 comments

I'm Canadian myself, so my first reaction is he's stirring some poo. But then there's Cherry. I'm curious what the SpoFi massive (Canuck and non-Canuck) thinks.

posted by waterbedk at 07:45 AM on March 12

The list goes on and on and, for the most part, it's been a good ol' Canadian boys who have headed the cheap-shot parade. America has its share of dirty players, and certainly there are noteworthy Europeans who could be accused of the same, but clearly there is a trend here. Oh for fuck's sake, what an idiot. The good ol' Canadian boys have headed the cheap-shot parade, but at the same time, they head up the scoring parade, the goaltending parade, and the coaching parade. Of course the majority of cheap-shots are going to be done by Canadians as Canadians are the majority in the NHL. It's just numbers. Looks like idiocy is ingrained in American sports journalist culture.

posted by mkn at 08:42 AM on March 12

Oh yeah, here's ESPN's Dirtiest Pro Players. Ulf Samuelsson is listed as the top dirtiest NHL player -- he ain't no Canadian. But look at all those American NBA players on that list! Basketball violence must be ingrained in American basketball culture. What a turdbag.

posted by mkn at 08:47 AM on March 12

mkn has hit it on the nose. More of us (canucks), so more likely we will do something stupid (or great). And believe me, the irony of an AMERICAN complaining about violence is not lost on me.

posted by grum@work at 08:59 AM on March 12

I am not even going to read that article. Does Jim Kelley still think he's in grade school? C'mon. Oh and what mkn and grum said.

posted by jasonspaceman at 09:11 AM on March 12

i think he has a point actually. sure there are more canadians in the league than anyone else, but why are ALL the enforcers canadian (ok, almost all, 9 of 10). and then look at scoring - only 3 of 10. canadians are just over 50% of players in the league. i would say its pretty arguable from that that the focus of the canadian game is on toughness, not skill. its the way we like it, it's what cherry always praises, what the media praises. the juniors haven't won the world championship since 97, by far the longest stretch going back to the 70s, though they have challenged most years. maybe our game needs to look a little more at skill and less at big and tough. i think so.

posted by owl at 09:34 AM on March 12

I'm a Canadian and he's absolutely right. All you have to do is look at international hockey to see that Canadians have always played a rougher, chippier style of hockey. Canadian hockey coaches almost uniformly promote an aggressive style of play and are strong supporters of players who "stick up for" their teammates with revenge cheap shots. There is obviously a significant difference between the European style and the Canadian style. How many European goons have there been? What I'd like to know is why there is an apparent difference between the Canadian style and the American style. The U.S. has produced a few notable dirty players (Chris Chelios and Gary Suter come to mind) but nowhere near as many as Canada, even when you account for the percentage of Canadian players in the NHL. I think Michael Moore needs to make a documentary on this comparing American hockey culture with Canadian hockey culture. He seems good at that kind of thing.

posted by Scott Carefoot at 10:33 AM on March 12

michael moore: vancouverbine

posted by owl at 11:10 AM on March 12

Slightly related question for the hockey heads out there: Is there a significant difference in terms of style between American college hockey and Canadian junior hockey? I'm assuming they're at about the same level as far as athletics goes.

posted by Justin Slotman at 03:51 PM on March 12

Can't we all just get along? Seriously, I thought one of the reasons for the difference between N.A. and European players in terms of fighting/being dirty was the bigger rinks in Europe, giving more space to skate away from checks and such.

posted by billsaysthis at 04:33 PM on March 12

>Chris Chelios and Gary Suter come to mind Chris Nilan. Craig Ludwig. Tkachuk. Hatcher. Roenick. Fine, most of the fighters are Canadian but so are most of the Lady Byng winners.

posted by Philfromhavelock at 10:40 PM on March 12

"Slightly related question for the hockey heads out there: Is there a significant difference in terms of style between American college hockey and Canadian junior hockey? I'm assuming they're at about the same level as far as athletics goes." grades.

posted by owl at 12:07 AM on March 13

Junior hockey talent level is higher than American college hockey (in the same way that AAA baseball is higher than Japanese baseball), but like owl suggests, the boys coming out of the American colleges (who aren't drafted) are probably going to do better in life than the junior hockey washouts.

posted by grum@work at 07:15 AM on March 13

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