Ottawa Citizen

U.S. critic shows his hockey ignorance


Re: Flagging spirits, June 7.

I guess letter-writer Jason La Valle of Cincinnati has never seen his country’s own World Wrestling Entertainm­ent on television for a display of American nationalis­m at its lowest common denominato­r.

Wrestlers use nationalis­m as a tool to create heroes and villains, but it utterly amazes and disgusts me that when a Canadian wrestler plays or sings O Canada, the crowd boos relentless­ly. When the American national anthem is played at Canadian sporting events, do we boo it? No, normally we sing along. We sing it out of respect for our closest ally, our largest trading partner, and out of respect for a friend who has lost loved ones due to terrorist attacks and foreign wars.

Mr. La Valle is missing the most key pieces of informatio­n when it comes to losing teams, players and our sport. His rant didn’t once mention the amazing tax breaks the U.S. teams enjoy that Canadian teams do not. The time for discussing loss of players, teams, and the sport itself is not during the Stanley Cup playoffs: We’ll save that for the off-season. We prefer to enjoy the moment.

No one spends $500 for a ticket to a game to converse about the future of hockey in Canada. That would be like buying a ticket to see Spider-Man 3 so you could sit in the theatre and discuss the growing relevance of the indie film industry.

His commentary on “the dwindling relevance Canada finds itself in the world of hockey” displays just how ignorant he is of the truth. Canada produces a copious supply of world-class hockey players who power the sport around the globe. Our relevance grows each year, and shows no sign of slowing down. The Ducks’ own website boasts 19 players from Canada.

Just go to any local hockey arena on a Saturday or Sunday morning and you’ll see more evidence to support my point. I find it amazing that he is so concerned with flag waving and singing, seemingly forgetting how several radically nationalis­t New Jersey Devils fans roughed up Senators fans in Rutherford, New Jersey a scant couple of years ago. When making an argument of this sort, Mr. La Valle, it is best done without selective amnesia.

If he is so put out by nationalis­tic displays at sporting events, don’t watch hockey or the Olympics, turn your TV off and read a good book. I recommend Anatol Lieven’s America Right or Wrong; an Anatomy of American Nationalis­m.


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