Don't know too much about this guy. He seems ready to cede hockey's prominence in Canada to other sports. Seem s a bit Chicken Little to me.

Is he caught up in the Raptors being the only Canadian playoff team this time of year? Or is he on to something?

I do think he is on to something when he references immigration patterns, and how those will eventually change things, at least to some degree.

Interesting read, nonetheless...

Why ‘We the North’ is no longer about hockey

Picked up the sports section of a newspaper the other day and was greeted by an irritating headline: “The Year that Hockey Died.”

Increasingly, we’ve seen these doomsday stories about our national sport. They’re exaggerated, of course. The sport is nowhere near the netherworld. The NHL is doing fine. TV contracts are big. The game – check the Pittsburgh-Washington series – still offers dramatic entertainment. Ottawa is putting up a new arena. The Toronto Doormats (Maple Leafs) have just won the draft rights to a superstar. Chances are they will be revived in this millennium.

So where does all the codswallop, all the stories about hockey’s demise come from? They come from immigration patterns which have seen millions arriving in Canada from cultures where hockey is barely heard of. They come from melting ice caps, a dwindling number of backyard rinks, falling enrolments in hockey youth programs...

In the context of its celebrated history, our national sport is clearly past its prime, clearly on the decline. Hockey’s heyday was the Cold War era, 1950 to 1990. It was then that, like rugby in South Africa, like cricket in the West Indies, hockey became an identity sport, occupying a role in society much grander than that of a game.

But Canadian hockey’s bigger problems lie in the larger trends of population change, cultural change, climate change. The zeitgeist is with other sports. While hockey will continue as a major one, it will no longer be viewed as what someone called “the marrow of Canadian life.”

The 20th century belonged to hockey. The 21st won’t. In that the game is no longer needed as an identity builder, we’ll survive its decline.