Is hockey slowly becoming an aristocracy? (Need help answering this question)

Discussion in 'National Hockey League Talk' started by kerrabria, Jun 9, 2021.

  1. krutovsdonut eeyore

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    i completely agree with you that hockey has a smaller talent pool than say soccer or basketball. apart from the obvious different in ease of entry to the sports, hockey is a cold weather sport native to a small portion of the world. any sport where canadians predominate is by definition drawing from a small catchment.

    because of this simple math dictates that nurture will have a better shot in hockey at overcoming nature, and well prepared kids can overcome some degree of talent deficiency.

    but i think you are overstating the reality of this. the dynastic nature of the sport is the exception not the rule. only one sutter kid has had anything like the career of the brothers. there are exceptions, but the vast majority of male children of pro-hockey players fail to follow their dads, even though the vast majority do play hockey and receive encouragement, support and mentoring from their family and can benefit from connections and name recognition.

    the reality is that, even in hockey, nurture overcoming nature is the exception rather than the rule. the nurture kids can get pretty close, but the most genetically talented kids do generally prevail.
     
  2. soothsayer Registered User

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    An excellent research question. I have nothing to offer other than that maybe you can look at how player agents are keying in on kids at younger and younger ages. And also that, because there is obviously less evidence to draw from in guaging the NHL potential of children, agents are placing more emphasis on family ties.
     
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  3. ryan callahan Registered User

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    You realize Joel Lundqvist and Ryan Russell made the NHL right? They absolutely did not ''suck'' at hockey. They both were some of the best players in their inferior leagues before coming to the NHL.
     
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  4. Confused Turnip Registered User

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    What in the actual hell is this? So much of your athletic and intellectual potential is genetically determined and there's a preponderance of evidence for it. In many case we know the exact mechanisms. How the hell did you leap to eugenics and racism? Are you trying to say that if you believe in genetics you also hold belief in eugenics as a moral act? You know we have sequenced DNA and can see that it exists, right? The human genome is real, not something some people just believe in. I'm so baffled at this.
     
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  5. Paper Registered User

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    Don't think you need to look much further than Potter. Didn't even know the sport existed but still became one of the youngest seekers of all time like his dad.
     
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  6. I Hate Chris Butler Backlund Fan Club

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    It took you guys this long?
     
  7. clarke19 Registered User

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    There's no surprise that young players who grow up surrounded by the game with familial examples of how to go about playing/training have a greater likelihood of getting further than those without close ties to the professional game. I don't think it's some hoarding of opportunity and oppressive to those who aren't born into families with professional experience.

    There's a far greater correlation between professional rosters and birthdate in the first third of the year if you want to crunch numbers and create a pattern. This is largely due to the age cutoffs in age-based grouping of youth sports, and the fact that relative age is a huge advantage when selecting teams due to the size/skill advantage a 15 year old has over most 14.25 year olds with later birthdays. Then the confirmation bias of those kids getting selected for higher tier teams, having access to a better ice times, better coaches, etc etc adds up over time. But, I don't think this can be considered February birthdays hoarding opportunity over the poor October kids.

    It's covered pretty well in the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.
     
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  8. krutovsdonut eeyore

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    he's trying to police the conversation by threatening in advance to call people racists if they cross some line he refuses to define in advance.
     
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  9. Sol Seductive God Of Thunder

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    I don't understand the point of threads like this. Like what exactly are you getting at? Hockey is a North American sport and generally European. I don't see any of the whole familial aspect that you're getting at. It's not like soccer or basketball where it's so wide spread that the chances of connections are much less likely. Also, talented parents make talented children no? Hockey families tend to have talented kids get into... Hockey..

    No offense but all Im seeing is a massive false equivalency. How big of a talent pool do you think sled dog racing has outside of colder regions of the world?
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2021
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  10. Confused Turnip Registered User

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    I guess I'm still confused as to the motivation and end goal, but I'm just going to have a beer and forget I read that. :help:
     
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  11. Pittsburgh1776 Registered User

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    Bingo. It's happening everywhere in our society now. I just laugh at it. Key word laced through all these viewpoints is 'equity', not to be confused in any way with equality. Once you start advocating for these viewpoints of who has power in society (in this case, amorphous family 'dynasties' that are invariably rich and white), you lose all ability to view a thing as it really is in all its complexity. It's the most backward and rudimentary thinking going today and should be roundly mocked wherever it is encountered.
     
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  12. WarriorofTime Registered User

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    It's not bankrupt to say some people come from more athletic families and thus have more athletic genes. Obviously playing at the highest professional level is one thing because those people are extreme outliers, but like if someone comes from two parents that were both NCAA athletes, it's not crazy to suggest they are more likely to be athletic than the average person...
     
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  13. Bank Shot Registered User

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    Hockey is much more a training based sport than one that rewards genetically gifted athletes.

    Sure if you are genetically gifted you will make better progress, but there are tonnes of NHLers past and present that are entirely unremarkable athletes.

    Its skill based. You don't need to have a standing vertical jump to play hockey. You just need a tonne of practice at skating, stickhandling and shooting skills.

    I have a cousin who made it far as a hockey player. It wasn't because he was 7 feet tall and shot thunderbolts from his arse. He just practiced and played all the time growing up.
     
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  14. Fig Absolute Horse Shirt

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    I think there's a point to be made that if there is a reasonable argument that there is a serious efficiency problem with development, then perhaps it manifests itself as certain combinations of kids who have the parents who can find the right development for them AND having that sibling to bring out a higher level of baseline "training" might launch these kids slightly higher. It's basically a situation where the players develop their own high level training regimen because the average regimen isn't good enough. I would chalk this to a point towards nurture/development over genetics.

    Furthermore, I find it somewhat strange that if we are looking at seeing a situation of "dream hoarding" as described by OP (A sociology type concept), why are we looking at NHL/hockey players only? Shouldn't family members working at the different levels of coaching/scouting/management/ownership etc. be a hugely overlooked pool of evidence towards that dream hoarding concept? Furthermore, some other points have been made that also make sense. Why limit to hockey? Sports families are sport families and they perhaps "hoard" significantly higher minimum baseline attributes than the average person.

    Sorry, poor wording.

    I guess I had a basic assumption success for hockey means that you hit at least a minimum level of success in the NHL (ie: Top 15 goalie peak, Top 4D peak, Top 9F peak etc.) as per OP's dream hoarding scenario and Aristocracy concept. I'm also basing my opinion based on the concept that it's not pure genetics that gets you up there, it's significantly more development and figuring out how to tap into the mental cognition of the game. Of course a minimum level of athleticism is required. Such is required in every sport.

    I took OP's concept to mean that if there's this dream hoarding scenario going on, players would basically have to reach a minimum NHL threshold to qualify, however I realize this is a faulty concept because there's plenty of other parents/uncles etc. who played at a high level but not NHL. However, if looking at this aristocracy scenario as mentioned by OP, I think we cannot limit the pools to NHL only and we cannot define "qualification" based on NHL success.

    My mistake.

    Again, if we also conflate the issues of training inefficiencies, then families are more likely to have higher level internal development on and off the ice by working with each other. They are also able to know the exact retired individual to speak with to hit that higher level internal development on and off the ice at all levels long before the NHL or any other pro league. This to me keeps going with development and nurture than genetics.

    I scanned the OP again and I really don't fully see why genetics should be a major argument as how certain footholds in the professional hockey community. It seems like a red herring, but it also seems like a repeat of how things go. If OP's question is significantly more about the politics of families controlling the sport in a "dream hoarder" scenario, then genetics should easily take the back seat for the discussion other than when it re-manifests as social arguments for the politics of controlling the sport (if that makes sense). If in history there was no major genetic advantage that was a really true reason for a family group to control leadership of clans/villages/dynasties etc. then I'd perceive the same here. It's not the genetics that is the main factor in keeping the family in power, it's the socio/economical/power of the family that does. The sport family argument that mentions sport parents that shop sports the kid is best in is another interesting one, but from a genetic POV likely has nothing to do with the dream hoarding scenario outlined by OP again.

    Sorry, that was poor wording on my part.

    I said earlier in my gigantic wall of text post that I had a poor false assumption that for a player to meet the bar of "dream hoarding" scenario as outlined by OP. I perceived there should be an equivalency where professional players should straight up churn star players because "genetics" if that concept was true. The point I was trying to make was that while genetics has its place in the argument, it is getting way too much spotlight on the issue when it seems to me that other facets should be focused on more. Especially if the title of the thread discusses an Aristocracy. Why would genetics have anything to do with the control and gatekeeping of the sport was a huge part of the point I was trying to make.

    Additionally, if it was pure genetics, then families should be contributing many players to the same tiers of high professional competition. Not perhaps have them spread all over the place in terms of average/start/superstar and barely getting by. However, I worded that poorly with a few sets of poor assumptions. I never intended to insult those players or act like an average schmoe like me could compete in the sport at remotely close to the same level at they ever did.

    My apologies.
     
  15. Fig Absolute Horse Shirt

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    Sure, but OP's concept seems significantly more relating to the control/gatekeeping of hockey specifically as well as their resources/aptitude/opportunities etc. in a dream hoarding scenario for hockey.

    The genetics discussion isn't unimportant, but it is seemingly a red herring in this sociology based discussion.
     
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  16. tarheelhockey Offside Review Specialist

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    We can at least approach an answer to this in baseball, per the spreadsheet I linked upthread. It appears to be the only sport where all family relations are tracked comprehensively across all pro levels. And it’s a BIG-ass spreadsheet. I suspect hockey’s would look similar in relative terms, if it existed. But as far as I can tell, it would only exist if someone put postdoc-level effort into compiling the data.

    In regard to dream-hoarding, to me there are a few intersecting factors. In order of least relevant to most relevant:
    1) Genetics (this matters, but is very marginal in the game of hockey)
    2) Geography/culture
    3) Economics
    4) Infrastructure (physical and human)

    Of course, infrastructure exists at the intersection of economics and culture. When two of the three are stagnant, they form a gridlock and progress becomes marginal if not backwards.
     
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  17. Siludin Registered User

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    I think the effect of family relationships definitely make it easier to get a job in pro sports even if you aren't one of the athletes.
     
  18. WarriorofTime Registered User

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    Maybe compared to basketball, football and soccer, but hockey players are still world class athletes. If you look at the numbers 18 year olds are putting up at the NHL Scouting Combine, it certainly blows the average person away. There's a reason a guy like Casey Middlestadt's numbers were so concerning and why he's struggled at the NHL level. Top 3 pure hockey talent but doesn't necessarily have the physical tools (even though he's improved from where he was due to training)
     
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  19. Seized by Sea Otters Registered User

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    Aristocracy? No.

    Rich white person sport that has a very limited global appeal and thus has a tiny talent pool to draw from? Yes.

    When it comes to jobs with-in the hockey world, it's a full blown nepotism wonderland though.
     
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  20. golfortennis Registered User

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    SVJ is a predictor of athletic ability, not necessarily the thing that is needed. It's a measure of how the central nervous system processes information(genetic neural muscular efficiency). It's valuable because it can't effectively be trained. Just because they aren't 7 feet tall doesn't mean they didn't win the genetic lottery. Hand-eye coordination, speed, and the ability to put a puck to within inches of where you are aiming is a gift. YOu can refine it some, but the vast majority of people will never be able to practice enough to get to that level.

    Your cousin practiced a lot, like all gifted players, but I can guarantee you he is gifted. He seemed average because the comparison group was a bunch of other gifted players. I would wager if he wasn't the best player in his league most of his years, it was because he had future NHLers in the same place.
     
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  21. golfortennis Registered User

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    There was an interesting discussion on a tennis board once about athletes from other sports. Say a Giannis Antetokounmpo getting a tennis racquet put in his hand. Or LeBron James. There were people who said there was no way those guys could be good at tennis. Well tennis is a footwork sport, and so is hoops. But tennis is similar to hockey in that beyond just messing around at a local park, it's quite expensive. So a lot of people are priced out.

    But I have no doubt if economics were not in the equation, the talent pool would be much bigger, hockey or tennis. Plenty of athletes out there who would do quite well.
     
  22. Nihiliste Registered User

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    People always both underrate and overrate the importance of genetics in these topics. They’re more important than most people think, but not so directly/linearly as some people expect (“why not Gretzky’s brother/son” etc)
     
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  23. Pittsburgh1776 Registered User

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    I mean, once again some are focusing in on economics to the exclusion of so much else. Hockey is largely dependent on cold climates. It's a geographical/culturural thing. Yes, there are hockey markets in the south now but the sport of hockey will always draw people who spent their winters growing up playing on the frozen lake. It's a tough game and just thrives more in those areas where climates and conditions are tough. This will always limit hockey's global appeal; there are just a lot of people in the world who don't want anything to do with snow and ice for any period of time.

    Second, hockey is a violent sport full of major injuries and hardship. Many parents, especially rich parents, don't want their kids playing a game that could result in concussions, broken bones, and severe injuries. You can say it's a rich person's sport all you like but the reality is that many hockey players came from average means and their parents sacrificed to prioritize them continuing in the game. Hockey is expensive, but to make the next leap and say it is therefore a rich person's sport is absurd.

    Overall, I'm tired of these discussions of gatekeeping and dream hoarding and other amorphous concepts that constantly seek to explain inequities as the result of some kind of social, economic, or racial gatekeeping instead of considering that many factors are at play. It's 2021. If hockey is largely a white person's sport, maybe that's simply because there isn't a lot of interest in hockey in non-white communities. Maybe this is entirely geographical and cultural. Maybe that's entirely ok and not something that needs to be problematized and changed through artificial equity policies. Answering that question honestly would be far more interesting than painting the hockey community with the broad brush of dream hording and racism.
     
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  24. Bank Shot Registered User

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    The vast majority of people don't practice enough to get to that level.

    This isn't the NFL that has the entire population to draw from. If you aren't being trained to skate by the age of 4-5 its basically already too late.

    This is a pretty small group of people compared to the general population. Lots of room for guys that fall into the normal athletic standard deviation.
     
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  25. Nihiliste Registered User

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    No one is really solely ascribing it to genetics in this thread either but your argument here is basically “it’s wrong because it’s distasteful” which seems like a more or less useless statement. For every wealthy connected kid like Brady Tkachuk there’s a Ryder Rolston that’s not athletically gifted enough to make the show and many more who aren’t even close to good enough to get drafted. Brady had the genetic luck and the opportunity, and you need both
     
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