Maybe we've lost sight of the forest for the trees, letting hockey become an industry. We should remember it's a game, and let kids play and learn through play. Bringing back some freedom into minor hockey, returning a sense of play to the game, will help develop creative skills and, in turn, help us win.
Hockey Canada has banned bodychecking at the peewee level, and Don Cherry is outraged. Cherry concedes that Hockey Canada has good intentions, but as he notes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. The intention here is to save children from brain injury, that is, concussions. Hockey Canada has taken a small step toward protecting players from being injured in the first place. But they have to do much more if they sincerely want to protect players from concussions. Despite what one assumes, helmets do not protect anyone from concussion.
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.
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.
Canada is a hockey nation and always will be a hockey nation. But we are a big country with a lot more going on. While hockey is in the penalty box, perhaps it's time to embrace our winners already at the podium. As a country we punch way above our weight in the arts. This weekend the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards celebrates its 20th anniversary as the nation's highest honour for our most notable artists.