When the Boomers were children you could ask the question “Is there anything more Canadian than Hockey Night in Canada ? ( Audio: Hockey Night in Canada song ).
Pretty soon, even that name will be just a curiosity. The Stanley Cup playoffs this year include only one Canadian team, the Habs from Montreal, and don’t bet a lot of money on them playing beyond the first round.
Montreal was the last Canadian team to win it all, 21 years ago. This year will be the worst showing by Canadian teams since 1973. And don’t forget that the Jets, Oilers, Flames and Senators weren’t even in the NHL in those days.
Hockey fans in Winnipeg waited 15 years for the big show to return, and they’re prepared to be patient. They look to the west and take comfort in the fact that hockey is considerably worse in Edmonton and Calgary right now, and then there’s Toronto .. don’t get me started.
The sad reality is, our national game as we like to think of it, is not really ours any more at the big league level, and it hasn’t been for quite a while.
How about the poor old CBC where hockey on the box began just over 60 years ago? After the Cup is awarded sometime in June, the public broadcaster will no longer own Hockey Night in Canada, although they will still carry Saturday games for another 4 seasons.
We now know at least part of what this will mean to the CBC. 657 jobs will disappear over the next two years. Chances are that’s only the beginning. Don’t you sometimes wish that you could time travel?
Wouldn’t it be great to be in the Gardens or the Forum 47 years ago. The Habs and the Leafs duked it out on black and white TV, and you could buy a ticket to be there for less than 10 bucks. How sweet it was when dinosaurs roamed the earth.
I’m Roger Currie