Bigger Canadian icon - Wayne Gretzky or Terry Fox?

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Francis Vernal, Oct 10, 2018.

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  1. Francis Vernal

    Francis Vernal Registered User

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    I thought this would be an interesting question and I can't personally decide. Wayne needs no introduction, but Terry Fox literally symbolized a life vs. death struggle and is maybe the closest to a "Rocky" figure that's ever lived.
     
  2. Art of Sedinery

    Art of Sedinery Registered User

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    Depends on the definition of icon. Gretzky is easily the most recognizable Canadian name around the world. But at the end of the day, he was just really good at a game. Terry Fox embodied courage, strength, passion, resiliency, selflessness and so many other things, he was a true hero and something for every Canadian to look up to.
     
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  3. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Every year and throughout each year across Canada, there are Terry Fox fundraisers raising money to fight cancer.

    Terry Fox will never be forgotten.
     
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  4. The Panther

    The Panther Registered User

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    I guess Terry Fox is "bigger" internationally, because of the Terry Fox run being a big international event. What he represents is also obviously far more important.
     
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  5. ehhedler

    ehhedler Registered User

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    I’m a Euro and I have absolutely no idea who Terry Fox is. Never heard the name in my whole life, and I have pretty good/relatively good general sports knowledge outside of hockey.
     
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  6. alko

    alko Registered User

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    You speak my words. Sorry, comrades from Canada, Gretzky is Gretzky.
     
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  7. Claude Pepe Lemieux

    Claude Pepe Lemieux Greatest Montreal Canadiens of all time! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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    I'm Canadian and I have absolutely no idea who Terry Fox is so Gretzky for me.
     
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  8. Ingvar

    Ingvar Registered User

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    Yup, I had no idea who Terry Fox was without googling.
     
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  9. Nick Hansen

    Nick Hansen Registered User

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    Gretzky is absolutely the bigger name internationally, but I also knew about Terry Fox before reading this thread. The embodiment of the Canadian spirit to me. What a fighter.
     
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  10. solidmotion

    solidmotion Registered User

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    it is mindboggling to me that there are canadians who don't know who terry fox is. i get that he wouldn't be famous internationally but for canadians...
     
  11. jumptheshark

    jumptheshark Rebooting myself Sponsor

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    I was in a small village in Africa a few years ago and when I mentioned I was Canadian. Their response was "like Wayne gretzky'
     
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  12. BigBadBruins7708

    BigBadBruins7708 Registered User

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    internationally, its goes

    Canada = hockey
    hockey = wayne gretzky
     
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  13. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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  14. Staniowski

    Staniowski Registered User

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    Terry Fox.jpg

    Terry Fox 2.jpg

    Terry Fox is a bigger icon in Canada than Wayne Gretzky.

    As well-known as Gretzky is in the country, Terry Fox is even more widely known. And more deeply admired.

    Hockey players gradually fade from the public consciousness over time...with each new generation, fewer people know Maurice Richard, Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull...but every Canadian kid learns about Terry Fox.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
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  15. The Panther

    The Panther Registered User

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    I don't doubt that Gretzky's name is known to more people that Terry Fox's. Gretzky is known to every Canadian and nearly every American, and plenty of Europeans (and even Britons) and some Japanese/Koreans know who he is, at least by name.

    But the Terry Fox run is a major event in many countries world-wide. I used to live in Taiwan and it was a fairly big thing there. It occurs in Europe (more than a dozen countries), the middle-east, and even in a few countries in Africa, despite zero corporate sponsorship.

    So if "bigger" means "more people by head-count", then it's Gretzky. But if "bigger" means more global and more important, it's Terry Fox.
     
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  16. Ageless

    Ageless Registered User

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    In school we are taught about Terry Fox.
     
  17. JackSlater

    JackSlater Registered User

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    I'm pretty confident that it is Gretzky by virtue of being more well known. Each represents a lot of what Canadians aspire to. Fox has a more amazing story.

    For what it's worth (not a whole lot in my opinion) Fox finished second in CBC's greatest Canadians list when the poll was made in 2004. Gretzky finished tenth.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
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  18. blood gin

    blood gin Registered User

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    But the global reach of Terry Fox (we really don't know who he is in America) his country of origin doesn't seem to be a big part of it. Gretzky is synonymous with hockey and Canada. It's part of the package. Fox died incredibly young so we don't really know what impact he would be having now and what he would've done. And of course this shouldn't be held against him. But Gretzky's impact and presence across many decades gives him the edge.
     
  19. 1967th Heaven

    1967th Heaven Registered User

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    Interesting question!

    I think it would be interesting to see the result of this discussion on a non hockey forum. Obviously any poster who has an account on hfboards from any country will have heard of Gretzky but possibly not Terry Fox (as some European posters in this thread have already attested to). However, I know the Terry Fox run is an international event and I would be interested to know how many European non-hockey fans have heard of Terry Fox and not Wayne Gretzky, I would imagine there would be a fair few.

    In terms of here in Canada, it is impossible to have gone through the public school system in the past 20ish years and not have heard of Terry Fox. Every year I was in school from 1st to 12th grade our school held a Terry Fox run and, in the lower grades, we often did actual lessons on Terry in the days leading up to the runs. I cannot imagine that anyone who has grown up in Canada does not know Terry Fox but I could see a very very very very outside chance they have not heard of Gretzky. (I actually remember talking to a buddy when I was about 13 who was not a hockey fan and had been born and raised in Canada who thought Gretzky was Russian, yikes.)

    Regarding what they actually did, Gretzky was the best player ever in the sport that runs through the veins of Canadians. He was a great ambassador for the game and a great person on top of that. Terry Fox, however, was a hero. He belongs in a class all his own and is one of the greatest Canadians to ever live.
     
  20. DannyGallivan

    DannyGallivan Your world frightens and confuses me

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    I file this under "Not Everything Needs to be a Competition". However, I get what you're trying to do. I agree that Gretzky is internationally the most recognizable Canadian of the two. However, I know for a fact that they really push Terry Fox in Canadian elementary schools (as well they should), so within our borders it's a toss-up.

    By the way, the real most recognizable Canadian icon is a toss up between a random maple leaf and any random mountie.
     
  21. Staniowski

    Staniowski Registered User

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    Gretzky is not as well known in Canada as Terry Fox. Every Canadian child learns about Terry Fox in school; every new citizen learns about Terry Fox; almost every segment of Canadian society knows Fox. Gretzky, a little less so.

    This is true. Gretzky is very, very well-known in Canada, and Terry Fox is even more well-known.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
  22. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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  23. JackSlater

    JackSlater Registered User

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    I doubt it. It's a situation where the vast majority know each of them, so any difference is likely negligible. I definitely know relatively new citizens who do not know Fox but do know Gretzky, at least by name. Anecdotal obviously.
     
  24. Nick Hansen

    Nick Hansen Registered User

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  25. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    i moved back to canada after spending the majority of the previous 12 years in the us and man, i honestly haven’t heard the name terry fox or thought of him in a long long time.

    sadly i also wonder if it’s a matter of those of us who lived through the 80s, in the immediate aftermath of the run (he died just before i was born), where it’s like, of course, terry fox. but without those t-shirts everywhere and nobody watching real tv so no canada heritage moments in your ad space, he’s much less of a cultural touchstone for people born in the 90s and later.
     
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