New idea or totally sexist?
The CBC is planning some counter-programming for female non-hockey fans as the Stanley Cup final begins next week, but faced a backlash on Twitter as a slew of posts denounced the idea as sexist.
Viewers can go online to listen to an alternate commentary from Lena Sutherland and Jules Mancuso, who run WhileTheMenWatch.com. They describe their site as a sports talk show for women, “Sex and the City” meets ESPN, with banter “from a woman’s point of view.”
“One afternoon while (our husbands) were both watching the same game on TV Jules and I were on the phone and we started just making comments to each other like, ’Did you see that guy’s hair?’ and ’What’s going on with that coach wearing the suit four sizes too big for him?”’ said Sutherland of their web show’s inspiration.
“And we kind of thought, ’Wow, this is funny, wouldn’t it be great if we could tune into an alternative version of the commentary from a female perspective?’ And that was kind of where we got the idea.”
Not everyone was happy with CBC’s decision.
“Seriously #CBC? While the Men Watch? I’m a serious sports fan and can go toe to toe with any male fan. Thanks for the patronizing insult,” wrote Laurie Kempton.
Minor hockey registration (for young Canadian boys in particular) is dropping across the board and the powers that be at Hockey Canada will be talking this week about how to stem the tide. It would seem the overarching issue is the perceived inherent danger of the game. There is no doubt a fine line to be drawn between making the game safer and changing the way its played in a major way.
Another item not touched upon here, but which certainly needs to be discussed, is the cost of playing hockey which continues to rise with the price of ice and equipment. With two competitive players of my own I can certainly attest to how expensive hockey can be. By comparison, two growing Canadian sports soccer and basketball, both of which simply require a pair of shoes, shorts and a ball. There are, of course, other costs associated with playing these sports at a higher level, but I would guess these don’t touch hockey.
I’m not about to say I have any quick answers or that anyone can, but it would appear something needs to be done if hockey is going to remain Canada’s dominant game.
As all good fans know, the Stanley Cup is hockey’s Holy Grail. The competing teams play their best for the entire season with the hope of bringing home that silver cup to display in a place of honor. Bragging rights are included, of course.
The National Hockey League, or NHL, team that rises to the top of the conference then goes on to attempt to beat the best of the opposing conference. The winners of the very-large trophy keep it only until the next season’s final when another team may become the best in professional hockey. Champagne (or any other variety of refreshment) is sipped from the silver bowl by each of the team members upon receiving the coveted award.
This year the competition is quite fierce. The two Eastern Conference teams left in the competition are from New Jersey and New York, where the winters are cold and hockey is revered. The New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers will go into their Hudson River rivalry match tied at one game apiece, and if games one and two are any indication, it will be quite a physical meeting. The formidable wall created by goalie Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers versus the seasoned Devils’ goalie, 40-year-old Martin Brodeur, should keep the scores low and the action intense.
The Los Angeles Kings and the Phoenix Coyotes have not been without brutal physical action either, and it could cost the Coyotes dear. A one game suspension of their critical forward, Martin Hanzel, issued for a game misconduct after boarding the Kings’ Dustin Brown, left the Coyotes at a distinct disadvantage for game three as they were already trailing the Kings by two games.
Any of these four remaining teams will put up a fierce battle in the finals. It may come down to a matter of who wants it most; the Kings or Coyotes – neither team has ever won a Stanley Cup. The Devils and Rangers, teams that have each seen plenty of action and tasted success, may fight harder for the prize.
Gambling on the outcome
To gamble successfully on the final outcome of this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs will take real in-depth knowledge of the game, familiarity with the last two teams standing, and of course an element of luck. Much like winning a seat at the high stakes tables on partypokerbonuscodes.com knowing your game and the players very well is always better than throwing down a blind bet.
In this year’s NHL playoffs, the top seed team to beat is the Rangers. They tend to play with more determination when they aren’t at the top of the heap. The Kings have the distinction of being low man on the totem pole this time around but are playing like they really want to bring home the Cup. The Coyotes and Devils are not the two that the sports writers and the media want to talk about when the finals begin to take shape. Knowing that they aren’t really favored just could light a fire under either team and send them steamrolling over the favorites, just to prove the media wrong.
Photo courtesy: http://prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com/2012/04/08/phts-2012-stanley-cup-playoffs-central/
I’ve kept relatively quiet for a few weeks so as not to jinx the Devil as she ran through the latest installment of tryouts – only this time for the Midget division, into which she and most of her most recent teammates entered as the youngest of three age levels. Boys in many centres are fortunate to have a minor-midget division; whereas for girls there are 14 and 15 year olds competing against 16, 17 and even potentially 18 year olds. Quite a challenge at a physical, if not, mental and social level. But the Devil and her young mates soldiered on starting at the highest AA auditions. Each tryout was comprised of three one or two hour sessions.
There were really no expectations to making an AA team based on the triple-age category and the fact the Devil has never played at a higher level than A (including in her most recent campaign under the tutelage of a fine rookie coach who shall remain somewhat nameless). Skate #1 was a wee bit grueling at two-hours and considering most of the skaters had been away to the rink for a couple of weeks. That doesn’t seem like a long time, but it doesn’t take long to have conditioning fall off; particularly when tryouts demand all-out effort and focus for an extended period of time. An added challenge at any first tryout is the sheer number of competitors. The Devil was one of 53 skaters on the ice at the first session. Pretty easy with that many players to not stand out or simply be overlooked. However, the Devil did enough to avoid an initial cut of about 20 players; which is necessary to make the selection process more manageable for the selection committee. She would give a full effort in the second skate, never backing down from a challenge in the corners or along the boards. Yet she wouldn’t avoid the axe of the evaluators and would renew her focus a little over a week later on at A team tryouts; a team she felt she had a much better chance to join, though we all knew it wouldn’t be easy.
The first skate for the next team saw the same intimidating number of competitors at around 45. The Devil knew she’d need to work her butt off again in order to stand out, impress and have an opportunity to skate a second time. She did just that in the first and then the second session putting her into the final round. By the third skate there were only four or five cuts left to make. The Devil knew she had her work cut out for her, but was hopeful as having been given the opportunity. I might add here that in a bit of an unusual circumstance, the coach of this Midget A team also happens to be a very good and long-time friend of our family. That being said, we expected no preferential treatment or consideration. The Devil would need to earn a spot as she did even a year ago when I was heading up the selection process. Though she never said it, what she did hope for was something of a heads up should hers be on the proverbial chopping block. And, as the process played out, she was indeed released following the final skate which did not, and for that matter still does not, sit well with her. She said if the skate were on the other foot, I would have handled this situation differently, to which I’d agree, but without going through it who knows. Having been through tryouts for nearly eight years now the technical reasons for her release are well understood, but there is, of course, no way to separate all that emotion from the equation. This too shall pass. One more tryout, one more life lesson for better or worse.
A week later (and just a few days ago) tryouts began for the third and final Midget BB team. After having gone through the physical and mental rigors of the first two rounds – the third (because this isn’t the first time we’ve been here) is always a little taxing. Making this third team would have a couple of challenges of its own. First off there were far fewer players on the ice to begin with – only around 24 for 17 spots. Secondly this team would be selected by a new coach in the association with whom the Devil has little familiarity and vice versa. A new coach could certainly be a wild card. On the positive side of the scale, many of the players trying out for this third team were the Devil’s teammates/friends from this past season who had likewise gone from AA to A to here. So the Devil was ushered to the rink with the same set of instructions from the previous two rounds – skate hard and there are no friends in tryouts. I’m pleased to report the Devil and five of her teammates, including her actual linemates, were all successful in this third attempt. There are, of course, some new allies to form and friends to be made. At the end of all of this, just like every other year, the Devil will get to play, learn, take away from and give back to the game we all love. For now, we’ll take a wee bit of a rest through the Summer then wait to see what else the next season will bring.
Nice piece from Daniel Tkaczuk in The Hockey News. My own opinion is that the cons generally outweigh the pros. We should be developing well-rounded athletes and individuals, not burning out over-extended hockey players. Every kid is undoubtedly different, but few are likely to want to play the same game 12 months of the year.