As I'm sure you all know by now, a tentative deal has been reached between the players and the owners of the NHL. For most of the world, this means absolutely nothing. I find the NHL more and more irrelevant every time it returns from another one of these temper-tantrums. As a recovered NHL addict, I can't help but wonder why we want to put so much energy and passion, offer so much devotion and piety, to a league that has done this to its fans four times in the past 20 years. Why do both the league brass and the players' union continue to overestimate Canada's passion for the NHL?
I know the NHL is really happy with itself right now, and I can't stand for that. The Lockout may be ending -- pending approval and some seriously important paperwork -- but the NHL still has to answer for the past few months, and the years before that. The league betrayed its product and millions of its own fans.
The World Junior Hockey Championship has captivated Canadians again this holiday season. But the sight of Team Canada's goalie's skin colour was met with laughter, bemusement, confusion and contempt in Canada and abroad. Thankfully, the long-ignored vestiges of disdain for diversity in hockey have been gaining attention nationwide, in the USA, and across the pond as hockey fans and foes band together to address long-standing pressures that still blight the game.
I'm worried that the experience of a white Christmas is slowly disappearing for most Canadians. According to Environment Canada, the probability of a white Christmas has decreased by 15 per cent for most of the country since the 1960s. Perhaps it's time we start to think about ways to preserve these pastimes. Doing so will help maintain the Canadian experience, and fight the dangerous impacts of climate change at the same time.
In an irony as ripe as weird Uncle Willard's bedside denture jar and nuttier than old Auntie Jean's inedible fruitcake, there are whispers that the National Hockey League and its players union are inching toward an agreement to truncate their age-old lockout, and allow a new season to finally begin... right around the time the world is scheduled to end.
From interpreting provincial labour laws (cited in the letters to the CHL and HC) which are being applied to define the relationship that exists between the 1405 players and their 60 teams, it is clear that players are employees and are owed a substantial amount of back pay, easily in the 10's of millions.
Of all four NHL lockouts in the past 21 years, this one seems the laziest. This just seems like it's been a long summer and your kid doesn't want to wake up before 8 a.m. for the first time in two months. This lockout is the snooze button on a season that was coming too fast, especially since it's clear negotiations didn't "start" until the 11th hour, or not at all.
I must admit it bothers me when I look at the cost of a ticket to attend an NHL game (or almost any other pro sports event) as I wonder how this money could be used all around the world and here at home to help children and their families who are facing poverty and despair. Luckily, three NHL stars have joined forces to help World Vision Canada to help thousands of children facing hunger in West Africa.
For whatever, reason, Canadians and hockey fans have tended to direct their glare at the players. They misguidedly view their occasional idiocy and always-present lack of financial knowledge with blame. With all due respect to Canadians, our values of socialism and unity are flawed. At least, in this case.
The most compelling subject line from a press release I have received -- ever (keep in mind that I am a parenting editor so the stuff doesn't usually get that racy) -- was this: "Sunscreen Can Stunt Penis Growth in Boys --Yes, It's True According to Dr. Martha Howard." I haven't done the research to enquire if there is any basis for this claim, but I did want to share the fact that this is the latest in our world of everything-is-bad-for-your-kids these days.
Darryl Sutter, for all intents and purposes, is the best coach in the National Hockey League. His hand is ever-steady. He controls his players through some kind of impenetrable Jedi mind trick. But Sutter doesn't even seem to care. His acceptance of the Kings' coaching job a few months ago seemed like charity work. Yet, here we are again, with the Kings leading a series 3-0 and showing no signs of letting up.