They’re Wondering About It In Australia

Chris Gallagher, an English professor at both Humber and Georgian Colleges in Ontario, has been reading my blog and sent a small essay he has written about the state of hockey. Chris is also part of the team at Informed

Gawd, I’ll bet he’s found grammatical errors in my stuff. Maybe the odd spelling mistake. I break English language laws all the time. Wonder what he thinks about that.

I know what I think. I think I’ll go back to bed.

Anyway, the professor writes the following –

The world of professional sport is a world all its own. It’s a world where
grown men and women make millions of dollars doing what many of us think
of as fun. Who wouldn’t want to make a career out of playing a game? Those
who are lucky enough – and good enough – to be professional athletes have
to recognize that they are privileged.  Doing something that potentially
harms another athlete’s ability to reasonably participate should not be
acceptable. A graver offence, however, is damaging the reputation of the
game you play. One player alone does not ruin a sport, but an accumulation
of thoughtless acts certainly might.
At this point, it’s likely clear that I’m referring to last week’s Zdeno
Chara – Max Pacioretty incident (full disclosure – I’ve been a Habs fan
since birth). As much as I think it’s time for everyone to move on, I also
have a perspective worthy of consideration.
In 2004, I was lucky enough to spend several months working at a
university in Australia. As a Canadian in Australia one of the things I
missed most was the NHL. My only real source for NHL updates was the
Internet. On occasion Australian sports coverage briefly mentioned the NBA
or MLB after running through rugby and cricket results. You can imagine my
surprise when one night the lead sports story was from the NHL.  It was
March 8, 2004 and the story was the Todd Bertuzzi’s attack on Steve Moore.
Tell an Australian that you are Canadian and the first question you’ll get
likely involves hockey.  Following the Bertuzzi-Moore incident, for the
remainder of my stay in Australia, I constantly had to explain that that
wasn’t “real” hockey. It bothered me that such an incident misrepresented
a sport I love. A fellow Canadian once quipped that rugby and Aussie Rules
Football are brutally physical sports, but most Australian’s felt “ice”
hockey was heaps worse.
Imagine my surprise last week when a friend from Australia e-mailed me
about Chara-Pacioretty.  He had seen the play on TV and was curious to
hear my thoughts. Here’s what I told him: that’s not real hockey.  The
problem isn’t Chara, or Bertuzzi or any one single player. The problem is
that the league keeps making itself look bad.

–  Chris Gallagher

9 thoughts on “They’re Wondering About It In Australia”

  1. Interesting you should post this Dennis, as only today I was doing a little trawl through the English press to give you a flavour of how the recent events in the NHL are reflected on this Small Island.

    This is not all-encompassing but gives you a flavour. I just go to the home page and search on Ice Hockey.

    First up a middle brow “conservative” newspaper the Daily Mail. These are the search results. The one that’s really worth a read is Martin Samuel. He is a very respected sports journalist who often goes against the grain and doesn’t toe the party line. Read his piece (the 4th one down) and scroll down to where he talks about the NHL. It was written before the game against Boston.


    Its competitor, the Daily Express is very poor. All showbiz really.

    Now the pinko, lefty (as Don Cherry would have it) Guardian, one of the “quality” press, as we say.

    Here’s what you get for Ice Hockey (scroll down to see the piece from 2008 about Canada going it alone if you’ve time). Basically, not a lot because they don’t bother with the showiz angle.

    Go to their US sports coverage and search NHL and this is what you get.

    Not much really. They did have a regular correspondent a few years back, as did one or two of the other qualities, but they’ve let it drop.

    The Daily Telegraph, another quality, mocked as being the newspaper of retired colonels and ladies from the Women’s Institute. They do have good sports coverage from an English viewpoint and you can find out what’s happening in the world of Polo or Real Tennis or the rugby scores at private schools but blue-collar stuff like Ice Hockey, not so much.

    The Independent is another quality. Not much there, although the 3rd one down is worth a read.

    I can’t access The Times as it’s behind a pay wall but the search on articles for the last 30 days suggest their coverage isn’t great.


    On to the tabloids. The Sun, Rupert Murdoch’s flagship (he of Fox News fame) and home of “nekkid” ladies.

    The _Sun

    Oh my, showbiz tittle-tattle again and oh! a bit of gratuitous violence.

    And the Daily Mirror, the forlorn hulk of a once great, well written, working class newspaper.


    And so to the BBC. That beacon of light that all you foreign types look to in an ever darkening world, or would do if they hadn’t taken an axe to its World Service operations of late.

    Well they cover the EPL and link to a lot of stuff but it’s not great really. I looked on the 606 Comment page for Ice Hockey and it’s not inspiring. No mention of Turnbucklegate. The people posting seem more interested in computer games than the real thing.

    Search the BBC on “nhl” and you get lots about the National Hurling League, which is of interest to me as my father came from the only bit of Kerry where they played Hurling, (Kerry is to Gaelic Football what the Canadiens are to hockey if they were still winning the Stanley Cup every couple of years), but my guess is you wont linger too long on the exploits of Clare and Roscommon, fine men though they are.

    But you can see to the right of the link that the “incident” made the news section.

    Make of all that what you will. But you can see how important the dawn of the interweb was to those who want to follow hockey outside these shores.

  2. Thanks for the work put into this, Blue Bayou. Now I’m going to sip a coffee and read them all.

  3. Dennis,

    It may be my blackberry but it seems like some of the hyperlinks failed. I can’t resend at the moment so just go to their sites and search ice hockey and you should get the same results as me

  4. I noticed that, BB and that’s okay. I’ve also been reading some of the other articles too. You know, just after I turned 18 my buddy and I sailed on the Empress of England to Liverpool and then we made our way down to London and eventually up to Derby. We spent the winter in England and I had brief thoughts of moving there because I liked the neighbourhood pubs and the fish and chips. But I didn’t move. I wonder what would have become of me if I had. And how would I have been able to follow my Habs?

  5. Danno, am I ever glad you found that link. Is it ever interesting. I see hockey’s not the only sport with problems.

  6. You’re welcome Dennis.

    Thanks BB for sharing the UK news with us. It’s always interesting to hear how others view this issue.

  7. Blue bayou, is there any relationship between Hurling and an inexperienced body’s safety response to drinking too much DKRFSB?

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