Skip to main content

Looking Back: Hockey Day in Canada

Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette had this to say about CBC's latest rendition of Hockey Day in Canada:

It came near the end of a long day of smug, self-congratulatory and intermittently fascinating television served up by our national network: Hockey Day in Canada, a celebration of our national game, of those who play it, those who watch it, those who drive their kids to the rink and those who drive the Zambonis.

Part self-aggrandizement on the part of Ron MacLean and Don Cherry, part the misty evocation of frozen ponds and part the grubby, hard-edged ring of coin being scooped into NHL coffers, Hockey Day in Canada has become (despite its refusal to acknowledge the existence of Quebec) an annual marking point and, at its best, a genuine celebration of our national game.

Those are some pretty strong words, but Mr. Todd is not incorrect. But let's forget about the Ron and Don Show for a moment and look back at some of that intermittently fascinating television, specifically the short video documentary called Ace Bailey's Legacy Lives On.

He was not the greatest hockey player - in fact he was not even the greatest hockey player named Ace Bailey. But he was the greatest teammate and friend in the business. Unfortunately Garnet "Ace" Bailey lost his life on United Airlines flight 175 that crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001. Not even the hockey world could escape the tragedy of 9/11, but his legacy lives on to this day:

While Hockey Day in Canada is a television event, the CBC website did an excellent job of contributing nice support pieces in the form of blog posts. Be sure to read Tim Wharnsby's excellent biography of Spence Tatchell, the first NHLer from Lloydminster, Saskatchewan. Wharnsby also caught up with the recently retired Wade Redden, while Dave Bidini treats us to a wonderful piece on Wendel Clark back on the prairie.


Popular posts from this blog

100 Greatest Hockey Players Of All Time

What follows is a listing of the 100 greatest hockey players of all time, in my opinion. As discussed earlier, the definition of greatness is a very personalized endeavor and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
While there is no way of ever truly ranking the top 100 definitively, it is important for the creators of such lists to be open and transparent of how the came to their conclusions. That accountability allows the reader to better understand the process. 

Although admittedly I'm using a completely unscientific formula, I weigh career achievements (era statistics, awards, championships) and legacy (impact on and off ice, peak dominance) equally high. I rank player ability as the third most important ingredient, as first and foremost as a tie breaker. Hence, I'm not necessarily looking for the better player, as in text book definitions of what a hockey player should be, but for players with the greatest careers and greatest legacies. Therefore the best player is not n…

Top Ten Junior Players Of All Time

Let's take a look at the Top Ten junior players of all time. For the purposes of this list we will at players in the WHL, OHL and QMJHL only.

10. Pat Lafontaine, Verdun, QMJHL Rookie-record 104 goals, 234 points in 1982-83; major junior player of the year.

9. Denis Potvin, Ottawa, OHL 254 games, 95 goals, 234 assists, 329 points. Broke Bobby Orr's junior records.

8. John Tavares, Oshawa, OHL 215 goals, 433 points in 247 games; most goals in OHL history; eligibility rules changed to admit him at 15; 2006 major junior rookie of the year, 2007 major junior player of the year; two world juniors, named 2009 all-star, top forward and MVP.

7. Sidney Crosby, Rimouski, QMJHL 120 goals, 303 points in 121 games; two-time major junior player of the year; silver and gold with Canada at two world juniors.

6. Eric Lindros, Oshawa, OHL 97 goals, 216 points in 95 games; one Memorial Cup victory; three world junior tournaments; major junior player of the year in 1991.

5. Mike Bossy, Laval, Q…

Greatest Hockey Legends: M