Canadian Hockey Literature

Canadian Hockey Literature

JASON BLAKE
Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 228
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/9781442698512
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Canadian Hockey Literature
    Book Description:

    The first book to focus exclusively on hockey in print,Canadian Hockey Literatureis an accessible work that challenges popular perceptions of a much-beloved national pastime.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-9851-2
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-16)

    In Scott Young and George Robertson’s 1971 novelFace-Off,a sports reporter hands in a sordid story about a hockey player’s personal life. His editor-in-chief is delighted with this bit of muckraking and decides to lead with it. ‘We’ll use your column head in the usual place on sports,’ he says, ‘with a note directing people to look at the front.’¹ The insult to sports fans is obvious, but there is also self-irony here. The chief newspaperman is well aware that he has given his stamp of approval to gossip just because it is hockey gossip. This invented, fictional example...

  5. Chapter One Hockey as a Symbol of Nationhood
    (pp. 17-38)

    Canadians associate themselves with hockey primarily because its modern roots are Canadian and because we excel at it. But there are other reasons for its fecundity as a national symbol, and Canada’s geographical, linguistic, and multicultural complexity has helped anchor the game’s status. Over time, the game has evolved into a self-understood indicator of Canadianness, both for Canadians and for the rest of the world. Hockey is an effective unifying symbol for a vast and heterogeneous country. The geographical surroundings may differ from East to West, from North to South, but the rink’s dimensions and the game’s rules remain the...

  6. Chapter Two The Hockey Dream: Hockey as Escape, Freedom, Utopia
    (pp. 39-77)

    Canadian culture idealizes hockey as a play space that is always and necessarily fun. This chapter examines depictions of hockey as an escape from daily life that takes us into the free, limitless world of dreams. It also considers the opposite: literary examples of when hockey ceases to be fun and when happy dreams turn into nightmares. Beginning with an explanation of the standard Canadian hockey dream, this chapter looks at utopian philosophical conceptions of play by theorists such as Johan Huizinga, Roger Caillois, and Bernard Suits, as well as at how adopting a professional, or overly serious, attitude corrupts...

  7. Chapter Three Representations of Hockey Violence
    (pp. 78-133)

    Writers of hockey fiction seem most concerned with violence, and this chapter is thus the longest in this study. Being a hockey player or fan means physically or intellectually confronting violence. This history of violence makes it seem natural and understandable that players beat each other up and do not necessarily harbour any ill will afterwards. Violence in sport is generally difficult to define, but in hockey fiction it is always clear and usually extreme. Fights and stick attacks form a central part of the narrative, and the reader cannot forget them or dismiss them as a footnote to the...

  8. Chapter Four National Identity and Hockey
    (pp. 134-169)

    In Richard B. Wright’s 2004 novelAdultery, a visitor finds himself in a small Ontario town. There is talk of someone ‘leaving an arena,’ and the narrator remarks that this ‘meant that he must play hockey, or coach it or watch it or do something with it.’ In Canada, the implicit question ‘What else can one do with hockey?’ is not rhetorical. Beyond playing, coaching, or watching it, we spend a great deal of time ascribing meanings to the game, pondering its cultural importance, and mythologizing it as the essence of Canada. This is a matter of belief, not empirical...

  9. Chapter Five The Family Game
    (pp. 170-208)

    Hockey fiction handles the family with everything from matter-of-factness to romanticism to irony. This chapter focuses on the main literary variations on hockey and family, which usually means fathers and sons. It begins with a consideration of the standard tale of how hockey binds families, and moves on to hockey’s singularity as a sport that demands the time and effort of the entire family. The subsequent section looks at parentless players who have been adopted by hockey culture. After that, the focus is primarily on the father-son dimension of hockey, including the ways that hockey both unites and divides families....

  10. Conclusion
    (pp. 209-216)

    This book has taken a thematic approach to hockey in Canadian literature, adding literary criticism to the many cultural studies efforts that already exist. As was evident throughout, discussing hockey in literature without considering hockey as a general cultural phenomenon is not possible. The various focal points of the individual chapters – hockey as a symbol of Canada, a utopian play-world, a violent game, the crux of national identity, and a formidable family link – are all themes common to discussions of real, played hockey in Canada, and though few of the works examined here are programmatic, they are each...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 217-240)
  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 241-256)
  13. Index
    (pp. 257-265)