The Many Faces of the Game Today

© Steve Babineau-Dave Sandford-Doug MacLellan/Hockey Hall of Fame

Introduction

More than any other sport, hockey has influenced the lives of Canadians. Love it or hate it, you cannot escape it. At sunrise, the morning paper and radio broadcasts provide all Canadian homes with information and statistics on the game played the night before. Television allows fans to watch games, sometimes with a better view of the action than if they had been there themselves. Drivers should be on the lookout for the many young people playing hockey in the street. Even our language has borrowed expressions from hockey, for example, when someone is retiring they are said to be hanging up their skates.

In our country’s harsh and cold climate with varied geography and multiple political allegiances, hockey rallies people together, serving as a common denominator among all Canadians.

Hockey inspires such fervour that it has often been compared to a religion. The arenas are its temples, and the star players its high priests. The riot that broke out in the Montreal Forum on March 17, 1955 when Maurice Richard was suspended is perhaps the most striking example of the attachment of Canadiens fans and supporters to their idol and hero … the hockey player.

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