Does reaching out matter? When a sport makes an effort to include a new audience, does it make a difference? It’s easy to be cynical, especially when confronted with Akim Aliu’s stark take-down of racism in hockey or the recent Brendan Liepsics scandal, complete with hints that his comments may be sadly commonplace in pro hockey. Suddenly, all the noble talk about inclusivity can feel like so much window dressing while age-old prejudice lives on.
Growing up as an African American, many innovations created and lead by people of African descent was unbeknownst to me. Institutions typically designate a month to highlight African American history. My recollection continuously recalls being habitually indoctrinated about slavery, segregation, and about prominent figures such as Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Sojourner Truth, etc. It wasn’t until I discovered self-education, and luckily recieved the funding to obtain higher education that I became acquainted with a wealth of knowledge about African American history. I believe it is crucial to inform other brown people of their origins and culture to create a space for our greatness into the consensus knowledge and to hopefully inspire black historians, anthropologist, and etc. to discover, highlight, and preserve African history.
It all came to a head 12 months ago. March 20, 2019. Kosice, Slovakia. Great Britain’s ice hockey team was approaching the end of its first World Championship campaign since 1994. The equation was simple. Defeat France, and the Brits would remain in the Elite Pool – something the country hadn’t achieved since 1950. Lose, and it would be a swift return to the second tier.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made 2020 a dull year, especially for sports fans, as major events are getting canceled or postponed. The Olympic games 2020, are delayed until 2021, is among the major events. The global sports schedule has experienced the most severe disruption, the likes that we observed during World War II. Sporting competitions have been halted or canceled globally and to various degrees.
Tying together ideas about the new technologies that are on the cusp of coming out and present day challenges are something that might not be expected in this journal entry. After the tandem of reading the Canadian Media Fund report from January 2020 entitled “Closer, Wider, Faster: Annual Trends Report in the Audiovisual Industry” and watching an interview conducted by Scott Brown with Winnipeg Jets’ forward Andrew Copp, to write about both of these presentations, which may not seem related on the surface was the only way to scribe this analysis. Sometimes, necessity is the mother of invention -- or in this case, the kick in the butt that it needs to be utilized in a way it may not have originally been envisioned. Though the chances of the ideas being set forth in this writing are slim to none, if they are imagined and shared by a lone hockey reporter who thinks outside the box much of the time, this idea is no longer a silent imagining. The idea will be presented, with the hopes it may be utilized sometime in the near future.
On Sunday night, Somers/North Salem and Pawling faced off at the Brewster Ice Rink. Both teams showed that they had ample number of players who could cut the ice and split the defense. But individual play could not condense a sustained Sabres offense that divvied up the Tigers and scratched out an easy 7-2 victory.
January 4th, 2020, saw an afternoon NHL game being played between the Minnesota Wild and the visiting Winnipeg Jets. The one consistency throughout the game was the constantly inconsistent calls, which led to the overtime victory for the home team. The need to hold the officials, who are all members of the NHLOA (National Hockey League Officials Association) is needed, especially when there are games such as this called, and players being injured and no retribution being made in the form of missed calls.
In March 2002, a girl named Brittanie Cecil lost her life after an accident at a Columbus Blue Jackets game two days before her 14th birthday. A hockey puck flew into the stands and struck the young girl in the left temple, causing a traumatic brain injury that would prove fatal a few days later. It was the first time in the National Hockey League’s history a fan died because of a flying puck. Now, over 17 years later, it is still just as important for NHL fans to practice spectator safety.
On a Thursday night in early June 2018, the Vegas Golden Knights were defeated in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals by the Washington Capitals after Lars Eller of the Capitals scored the game-winning goal with 7:37 minutes left to play. While many across the nation celebrated Washington's first Stanley Cup win, others sat back and admired the grit, determination, spirit and never-give-up attitude of the Golden Knights.
On a Tuesday night, late in April 2019, the San Jose Sharks and the Vegas Golden Knights played one of the most memorable Game 7s in sporting history. A chippy and aggressive series, the first round of playoffs for the 2019 season already had plenty of talking points. There were two players who lost teeth during the best-of-seven series and numerous players were taken back to the locker rooms during the games for various injuries. The hits were strong and plentiful; the embodiment of hockey. There was a goal scored that was quickly waived off due to goalie interference, changing the game's momentum. But it's all part of the game. Athletes put their bodies on the line every day, for an ultimate goal. Usually, these goals are personal, maybe the athletes want to create a good and stable life for their family, or they want to prove someone wrong, or win the biggest game, or create ever-lasting fame. But sometimes, playing for a teammate can be the most powerful and motivating goal.