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If Ken Dryden's wonderful account, The Game , remains the best book about hockey that we have, Buma's gives us the most challenging and comprehensive interpretation.

Refereeing Identity: The Cultural Work of Canadian Hockey Novels

Two minutes, though, for verbal interference. Canadian literature scholar Neil Besner is vice-president, research and international, at the University of Winnipeg. A former Montrealer, he grew up cheering for les Canadiens.


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    These guidelines were revised effective February 27, Back to top. Get to Know Us. English Choose a language for shopping. Audible Download Audio Books. Alexa Actionable Analytics for the Web. Shopbop Designer Fashion Brands. It would be easy to assume that hockey as a subject matter has played a significant role within Canadian popular cinema.

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    The series, however, did poorly in English Canada: the final episode of the second season drew 2. There have been English-language Canadian hockey films that challenged mainstream ideals. A recent example that drew critical if not box-office acclaim is Breakfast with Scot But the film is also remarkable in that it was the first openly gay production to be allowed by the NHL to use its trademarks, in this case the jersey and logo of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

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    This paper is a consideration, within this cinematic context, of two recent Canadian-produced feature films: Score: A Hockey Musical and Breakaway. These increase the number of English-Canadian films that use hockey as a narrative centrepiece. Whether these boundaries are expanded to be more inclusive or alternate identities are framed within the mainstream is the issue that lies at the heart of this analysis. The significance of these two films is that they were released at a time when English-Canadian cinema was on sure enough footing to consider using hockey as a theme to ensure a successful domestic theatrical release.


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    Moreover, given their seeming appeals to a broader sense of Canadian identity through hockey, both were released at a time when the cinematic landscape was also populated by high-profile fiction e. Such mainstream portrayals of hockey concurrently reified violence in hockey — despite the growing societal questioning of this, discussed below — while reaffirming the narratives of hegemonic masculinity and whiteness most commonly associated with the sport in Canada.

    The collective celebration of hockey in Canada is dominated by a number of literary treatments that stake out a deeper appreciation of the sport. Six years later, Dryden broadened his lens to include hockey in a variety of local, professional, and international settings in Home Game , written with well-known journalist, Roy MacGregor. These popular and literary treatments essentially intertwine the history and presumed cultural significance of hockey in Canada with the emerging commercial dominance of the National Hockey League NHL and, its championship trophy, the Stanley Cup, in a narrative both unquestioned and seemingly inescapable.

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    There is a smaller, but growing oeuvre of critical scholarship on hockey as a cultural form of social and economic importance and on the early organization of the NHL. Canadian filmmakers have been slower to use hockey as a narrative device in ways that go beyond affirming myths of national identity. Complete with a title that has multiple allusions — sporting, musical, and sexual — Score is the story of Farley Gordon. Home-schooled by new-age parents who abhor sport, Farley prefers skill to violence and when recruited for a pro team dismays both his coach and teammates by refusing to fight.

    Incorporating the "Other" within Canadian Hockey Films

    The iconoclastic hero, Farley, is a misfit whose transgressions from the mainstream in this case, his unwillingness to fight and engage in the violence expected of the elite hockey player only serve to reaffirm his inherent goodness. While Score might seem essential Canadiana, it received a decidedly chilly reception from Canadian film critics.

    But it is more complicated than this.