This is a problem, because hockey, perennially the little brother of the four major sports, has developed an identity rooted in what their players are not, as opposed to what they are. Not arrogant. Not selfish. Not showy. Not full of flopping, diving, embellishment. Not basketball.
This is a good piece, and you should read it if you love hockey.
It’s probably a whole new essay—a much longer one, definitely—but I wanted him to keep writing this paragraph. I kept waiting for the next conclusion—I was already writing it in my head as I read—because this paragraph also describes the Canadian identity. We are a British Commonwealth, though we’re not British. We consume American culture, though we’re not American. We are a country of immigrants, though we identify as Canadians.
We define ourselves by what we are not, so of course that is how hockey defines itself, too. Hockey is us, we are hockey, and we owe it to ourselves to make both better.