Hockey Night in Canada


312 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-920059-05-8
DDC 796.962'0971





Reviewed by Dave Jenkinson

Dave Jenkinson is a professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba and the author of the “Portraits” section of Emergency Librarian.


While the title (a reference to CBC’s long-running Saturday night
televised hockey game) may suggest to the sport’s fans that Gruneau
and Whitson have produced yet another hockey history, the subtitle
better defines their aim “to write a book about hockey that could be
assigned in university courses on popular culture or Canadian society,
as well as in courses focused directly on the social analysis of sport
and leisure.” They describe their approach to the subject as standing
“at the crossroads between history, sociology, and a comparatively new
field known as contemporary cultural studies.”

The book is divided into three parts, each containing four chapters.
The first section, “Hockey, Culture, and Social Development,” is in
a sense the book’s history portion, though with a sociocultural focus.
“Exploring the Postwar Hockey Subculture,” the middle section,
examines the daily life of typical contemporary professional hockey
players, and also considers scenarios of what their post-hockey lives
may be like. The concluding section, “Hockey and the Remaking of
Community,” should be required reading for all politicians connected
to Canada’s small-market National Hockey League cities (especially
those being threatened by “closure’), for Gruneau and Whitson
clearly show how that which Canadians almost mythically believe to be
“their game” has been absorbed in this “age of globalization” by
what they call “the new politics of accumulation.” A lengthy
“Notes” section and an index complete the book.

While Hockey Night in Canada will well serve its principal audience of
university students, its academic style and weighty prose may prove too
daunting for the average layperson. Nevertheless, public libraries
should still consider adding it to their collections.


Gruneau, Richard, and David Whitson., “Hockey Night in Canada,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 23, 2024,