Saturday, September 25, 2010

Patriotism Run Amok

Canadian hockey snobbery apparently has no bounds.

"Nationally, 53 per cent of the respondents in a survey commissioned by the Montreal-based Association for Canadian Studies said they agreed with the idea that Canadian-based NHL teams should have a minimum percentage of Canadian players."

- Ottawa Citizen
Could you imagine if these cave-dwellers (in some fantasy Harper-land) actually had their way? Sorry Peter Regin, you can't play this year because you're not a Canadian. So that means you make the team this year, Francis Lessard.



Anonymous said...

That is almost as backwards as...
Hey! the CFL.

Anonymous said...

To be fair, you look at recent Cup winners and they have a fair number of Canadians.

Chicago had a ton, Anaheim had a ton, even Detroit and Pittsburgh had their fair share.

It's not law or logistics, it's just putting the odds in your favour:

Get a bunch of Canadians, add a handful of skilled Europeans/Russians and a half-decent goalie and you're off to the races.

It's not the perfect model, Detroit showed you could go almost Full Euro with some Canadians thrown in, our own team came close to winning with a Swedish captain...but old habits and perceptions die hard.

It's probably going to take five, ten, twenty Cups in a row won by European captains to make it anything less than an anomaly.

Peter Raaymakers said...

This is ridiculous. Not in and of itself, but because it puts Canadian teams at a competitive disadvantage against their American counterparts, because they can't sign the best players available, just the best Canadian players available. So, as Milks said, it might mean we'd have to say goodbye to Regin or some other European to make room for a Canadian.

The CFL is different, though: All teams have the same restrictions placed on their lineup (different now from when the US expansion experiment was underway).

Jeremy Milks said...

Peter, my thoughts exactly. Let's be patriotic by putting our own teams at a disadvantage to their American counterparts.

But this is just a poll done by an organization looking to justify itself. The idea would be laughed out the doors of the NHL office.

Politics and hockey are not good bedfellows.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that the percentage of people who feel this way is so high.

I think it's stupid for the reasons that you've already mentioned. On top of that, it would never happen, like you said.

The NHL prides itself on being the BEST hockey league in the world. That means you need the BEST players or you instantly devalue your brand.

The best pro leagues don't have quotas. The NFL, NBA, MLB ... they recruit the best players, irrespective of nationality.

It reminds me of something Bill Gates once said. Someone asked him about any policy changes he would make if he became President of the USA. He said that he would get rid of the work visa quotas for skilled workers. He said that with quotas, you're basically saying, "don't let too many smart people into the country".

The people in this survey are basically saying, don't let too many good hockey players in the league.

I love the CFL, but let's face it, it's a second tier league. The quota system is the hallmark of a second tier league. I think many of the European hockey leagues also have quotas.

Nothing wrong with the quota. Just recognize that you're saying that you don't want to be the best.

In many ways, the CFL is smart with its Canadian quota. It knows it's not the league for the best football players. It can't compete with the NFL on that level. So, they differentiate themselves by branding themselves as Canadian.

The NHL story is totally different. It's the best league. Quotas would be stupid.

anon @ 4:25pm

Of course the Cup winners have a fair number of Canadians. That's because most of the players in the league are Canadian.

Nationality is not going to win you a Cup. You sound like Don Cherry.

Anonymous said...

Not sure why this would be such a bad thing. And your Regin/Lessard example is a little over-the-top, don't you think?

If a quota system were ever put in place it would never effect a team's top-end talent. Its more about the depth players. The question is does it make sense - or, is there any significant benefit - for a Canadian team to have a fourth-liner from Europe when a Canadian-born player of equal talent/ability is available? And in the long-run, is it better for that Canadian team to push the development of hockey players in their home country? To me, its not such an easy question that you should just shrug off as "Canadian snobbery".

Look at what has happened to European soccer. You have club teams like Italy's Inter Milan that have ZERO Italians in their starting 11. Is that right? Shouldn't each country have some kind of mechanism to protect/grow its own talent? Isn't it good for the young fans in those countries to look up to home-grown talent?

To be fair, hockey is not the same as soccer, since North Americans still make up the majority of NHL rosters. But down the road, and with expansion and growth of the KHL and other European pro leagues, maintaining a minimum number of Canadian players on each Canadian team (and American players on American teams, etc.) starts to have some value. Otherwise, there is risk of losing some of what makes our game and our style of play special.

Anonymous said...

This is obviously some intoxicated sports columnist's idea of a joke
Very good reasons posted above as to why
I especially agree with the comment on it having no effect on top tier players on a roster
That being said, the NHL is groomed to have the lowest lines be "energy" or "shutdown"
Which is fancy hockey talk for a line of strong gritty players
It is probably pretty obvious but Canadian players, especially on the lower tiers excel in this aspect of the game
Either way I see this endeavour accomplishing beyond nothing
If only Canadian franchises are required to comply to this racist quota
What exactly does it give them besides more Canadian players
I don't know about you but the ethnicity of a player has almost no impact on my perception of them
There are stereotypical forms that generally fit National hockey styles
I don't see the Canucks standing at the draft podium and thinking:
Hmm maybe I didn't draft enough Canadians
In the end, if implemented, the canadian quota would not affect any of the rosters
Except in that it would fill out canadian pluggers and draft Canadian in lower rounds
Just to meet the quota
Not to mention it wouldn't do anything for any media or press aspect of the game
As it would most likely be fourth liners or the Healthy Scratch that ends up being shuffled

If I were to guess as to what the drunk journalist was trying to get at
Is in any future or potential expansion
Some Canadian top end talent would wind up on Canadian franchises
Which wont happen any way