Women’s hockey grows in popularity, Canada loses its grip on the game but a revival looms
HOCKEY: A PEOPLE’S HISTORY wraps up on CBC Television this Sunday, Oct. 15 at 8 p.m., with back-to-back episodes. Episode 9, Winter of Discontent, shows how Canada’s hockey glory from past decades begins to fade. At the Nagano Olympics in 1998, when Canada’s pros are allowed to compete for the first time, fans are shocked and dismayed when the team loses. Teams begin to move south of the border, and Canada’s unofficial hockey czar, Alan Eagleson, is dethroned – found guilty of fraud and theft and sentenced to nine months in jail. In contrast, women’s hockey grows in popularity with more than a million fans watching the Canadian team win the first-ever World Championship in 1990, and witnessing women’s hockey debut at the 1998 Olympic Games. Manon Rheaume becomes the first woman to play in the NHL, for one period during an exhibition game with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
In episode 10, Reclaiming the Game, the focus shifts to minor hockey. With an undue emphasis on winning at all costs, a game kids play wasn’t so much fun anymore. Ken Dryden’s Open Ice Summit, the first national hockey conference of its kind, attempts to create initiatives to renew the game at the grassroots level. Internationally, Canada reclaims gold at the 2002 Olympics and 2004 World Cup of Hockey. And despite the subsequent disappointment of the 2006 Olympics, when Canada finished out of the medals, and the NHL lockout that cancelled the entire 2004/05 season, the game has
emerged stronger than ever. With an improved NHL and the growth of the sport internationally, Canada can take pride in being the country that gave hockey to the world.
Hockey: A People’s History airs every Sunday at 8 p.m. until Oct. 15, with two one-hour episodes each evening. Series narrator Paul Gross is accompanied by hockey “philosophers” (experts in the field) Wayne Gretzky, Ken Dryden, Michael McKinley, Alison Griffiths, Jean Beliveau, Stephen Brunt, Don Cherry, Daniele Sauvageau and Bruce Dowbiggin, among others. Hockey: A People’s History is a collaboration between CBC Television and Société Radio-Canada and is produced by the award-winning team who created the nationally acclaimed series Canada: A People’s History. For more information
on the series, please visit www.cbc.ca/hockeyhistory.