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

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

  1. DuckyGirard Registered User

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    I don't think you understand how markets work.

    If we had a non capitalistic version of hockey, non hockey parents couldn't buy coaching.

    Parents who know hockey would teach their kids very well, while the average pleb would be reliant on community coaches who if talented would be impossible to get coached by unless your dad had a position of power in government.

    Your entire narrative is counter factual.

    The russian system didn't even focus on stick work. You'd skate for years before people would invest in your stick work. Now imagine if your dad had you starting stick work at 5, when the government system had you teaching stickwork at 10.

    Not to mention there's absolutely zero rational for hockey rinks in a non capitalistic society, as the resources to make ice is incredibly extreme. The only reason the soviet union had the system they had was purely based on a rather extreme variant of russian militaristic-nationalism, the kind that persists today.

    I'd be perfectly happy living in a world where far less money went into hockey. It'd be a northern sport, limited to the winter months.

    But it'd be far less talented and who your parents are and where you were born would end up being virtually everything.
     
  2. DuckyGirard Registered User

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    Nurse is an awful example because he's an exception in terms of genetics. You don't play the way he did in game 4 without those genetics.

    That's an exception not the norm in this league.
     
  3. Pointteen Registered User

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    I don't have to imagine anything about being forced to work on my hockey at a young age.

    Nor do I think you understand that my point was about the accessibility issues being a problem.
    I didn't say anything about markets in the post you quoted.
     
  4. majormajor Registered User

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    "Nepotism" is the wrong word for it.

    This is just the same phenomenon as kids from well-off parents getting the best educations, the best out of school opportunities, instant access to private tutoring if they have any difficulties, someone to drive them around, etc... It's not nepotistic to give your child the best education money can buy, you don't begrudge those people. It's just unfair on the macro level because that means the kids with the most "merit" are going to be those same kids who had the most invested in them in the first place, and so on the cycle goes...

    Ice hockey is becoming increasingly closed off in that same way. The kids who get the most invested in them are more and more the ones who end up having the most "merit".

    Forty years ago it didn't matter whether you were from rural Saskatchewan or suburban Toronto, or whether you were from Cape Breton or Halifax. If you had ice time you could play and you could keep up. What changed is now money can buy a lot better skills training at young ages. On ice camps with specialist coaches, off-ice training with very expensive equipment and private coaches, etc... It is five figures or maybe even six figures annually to give a kid the best training. And to get that you have to be rich and be in proximity to where those specialist coaches are. Retired players can perhaps somewhat substitute their knowledge for some of the cost, but the better explanation is that those retired players also tend to be rich.

    A good example is the falling proportion of players from Saskatchewan, and the increasing proportion of players from Metro Toronto. There isn't enough concentrated wealth in Saskatchewan to support a base of niche trainers and coaches who specialize in developing skills in children. Likewise, if you know a rookie is coming from Nova Scotia, you can now bet that they are in the half of the population in and around Halifax. They won't be from Cape Breton. Al Macinnis and Norm Batherson came from Cape Breton, and now their sons are in the NHL. But their sons developed elsewhere, in larger metros where they had specialist training.
     
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  5. DuckyGirard Registered User

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    scientific racism revolved around denying statistical evidence to fit a racial-political agenda.

    Factual science is the polar opposite of that, you couldn't be more wrong.

    Natural athleticism is almost entirely genetic.

    Skills can be developed but genetics is huge in sports like basketball.

    Even something like "hockey iq" correlates to IQ score. Which is also largely genetic.

    The problem with the genetic issues isn't that genetic isn't important, it's that you only get half of your genes from your parent, and it's a random assortment of genes. So if your dad has a perfect royal flush, you get half of those cards at random. Yes you may end up with a ace king, or you may end up with a jack and a 10, and loose out to an average joe with a pair of 3s.

    The randomness of it all is enough of a factor that you can't assume genetics is that substantial. There's nothing to suggest that nhlers are created by natural athleticism.

    If physical traits were so important they'd have far more influence in drafting.

    The reality is it is very likely the average nhlers isn't any more athletic than the captain of your highschool football team. Above average sure, but nothing that is gonna be setting any records.

    There are obviously a select few nhlers that are pure freaks but they are a minority.
     
  6. majormajor Registered User

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    I am an expert on the Soviet Union, and I can see you understand some aspects of Soviet society - how access depended on who you knew, how ice hockey was promoted for nationalistic prestige reasons, etc...

    But why is that the only alternative possible to capitalism? Is it that hard to imagine a system where children could have equal access, where it didn't depend purely on money or purely on connections? We can do better than both!
     
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  7. majormajor Registered User

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    Certainly a factor, but how would you explain it if family relation was becoming an increasingly important factor?
     
  8. majormajor Registered User

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    I'd like to see a study just look at the change in the proportion of players whose fathers played professional hockey in a high level league.

    Having siblings or cousins who played amateur or low level pro isn't as telling, I don't think. It could be because both siblings benefited from parental wealth. It could also be largely genetic. And it's possibly going to be biased if eliteprospects improves their record keeping over time, as they cover more and more lower leagues.

    If we just look at players whose fathers played professional hockey, it is more likely that it will tell us something about wealth and advantage being passed down intergenerationally.
     
  9. DuckyGirard Registered User

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    Maybe 10 percent of the population can hit 34 inches, but maybe only 1 percent can hit 36 inches.

    So if you get to the 90ths percentile you're not facing that much competition from people with 37 inch jumps.

    As a result once you qualify as a 34incher, the jumping metric is no longer much of a predictor.

    Being amazing at any one thing won't make you successful being above average on multiple fronts is far more important once you qualify. In which case training is likely far more important.

    I've never seen anything to suggest that nhlers have phenomenal genetics.

    In contrast 99 percent of people lack the height for basketball and without speed and strength height's useless.

    Seems to be the case if you're best athlete in your gym class you're nhl material.

    My bet is that there's a whole lot of transferable skills between sports. In my opinion being able to pace and position yourself within context of natural genetics is everything.
     
  10. WillyNy Registered User

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    In the future it'll still be a rich family league, only those who can afford to genetically modify their children will have the chance to raise a NHLer
     
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  11. DuckyGirard Registered User

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    It's the only working example in connection to actual hockey, isn't all that more complicated.

    "purely on connections" again this is the rarest in capitalistic societies, in almost all other examples it gets far worst.

    The reason I'm making the blanket statement is because "the system" pretty much highlights capitalism at its best. Capitalism provides the freedom to waste vast sums of money on a sport that requires more resources than it gives back. In turn capitalism also allows for some overcharged hyper competitive development system to exist.

    Can't think of another system that would encourage such waste and such specialisation for a hobby.
     
  12. WillyNy Registered User

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    Ontario boys --> Canadians (outside of Ontario and Quebec) --> Americans --> French Canadiens
     
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  13. majormajor Registered User

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    -- I don't know how access to hockey works in Finland or in Sweden, we might look into that to see if there are any differences.

    -- In any case, I think it is ridiculous if you can only argue in terms of the extreme Soviet Union or extreme capitalism. People are very capable of doing better than both, and your brain is capable of imagining it!

    -- Waste is going to be pretty relative here. A very large proportion of each advanced economy goes towards hobbies, sport/exercise, aesthetics, and all manner of other stuff that isn't a pivotal need. I don't know why waste is a topic here for you. Borrowing your terms, the Soviet Union "wasted" more on ice hockey than capitalist Russia has "wasted". Czechoslovakia "wasted" dramatically more on hockey than its capitalist successor states.
     
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  14. DuckyGirard Registered User

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    Don't get too far ahead of yourself. We could see a reversal of the trend, as internet technology and more relevantly trainers who know how to learn from the internet become more relevant.

    Then you have things like synethetic ice, motion capture technologies, and vr that could level the playing field in ways we can't currently imagine.

    As much as people waste money on training it isn't clear that it is as critical as people believe, provided 2nd tier/affordable systems emerge.

    Obviously in the current era so much of everything is about being absorbed into the competitive junior hockey stream, and making your way into the chl.

    But this is already changing with ncaa hockey etc.

    Also our prospect system is also becoming broader so players that were missed because of their less than stellar development years are getting looks they've never gotten before.

    Problem with that narrative is that you really don't know.

    One wild card factor that people are ignoring is the simple influence of steroids, and more relevantly the willingness to put your kid on hormones at a young age.

    Simply looking at the faces of 25 year old nhlers and it becomes clear, hormones are heavily used while young. It's also a fact that steroids have radical influence on performance.

    Steroids are such a radical advantage especially when you're 14-15.

    I would suspect willingness to send your kid to a "weight gainer" camp is a huge issue, something an nhl dad wouldn't think twice about and yet the average person would pull their kids out of the sport.

    But the steroid issue is completely forbidden for whatever reason.

    And again steroids don't just make your muscles bigger. In fact steroids can actually make your muscles stronger and smaller by reworking your ratio of fast twitch muscle fibres.

    It's funny because in Newfoundland it was obvious that steroids weren't heavily used. But it was always funny when someone came back from mainland hockey and was obviously using.

    Met a number of people who deny the steroid usage, and it was usually from people who flunked out of the system.
     
  15. DuckyGirard Registered User

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    My guess is it's pretty similar to whatever goes on in Canada, with the exception being those countries are far far smaller and likely get the same concentration of resources that occurs in southern ontario.

    I'm from newfoundland have a good idea of what the middle looks like.

    Community owned rinks etc. None of this changes the equation.

    I talk about the extremes because it illustrates the point.

    No offence but Newfoundland makes you a relative expert on the topic. We see both extremes(people working in the tar sands/welfare recipients) and a whole lot of crossover.


    And by your own logic these were extreme situations, and were heavily motivated by extremist nationalism.

    It's the how you'd get people to invest in a system in a democracy.


    Because I can only assume you're referring to a system where governments contribute more to the sport.

    And creating artificial ice is incredibly resource intensive.

    Why would you take the resources allocated for 10 soccer fields or 10 basketball courts and dump it into hockey.
     
  16. majormajor Registered User

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    So I'm hearing from you that those other countries are probably like Southern Ontario, and Newfoundland is in the middle of the spectrum between both extremes so you're an expert... I'm a bit skeptical that that cuts it. Canada has a lot to learn from many European nations. I'm originally from Cape Breton and I live in the States. I wouldn't say that those two pieces of experience cover half of what I'd want to know here.
     
  17. KirkW Registered User

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    Sweet. Did you actually read what I wrote and consider the meaning before blasting it as an awful example?
     
  18. Voight #winning

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    It doesn't always work that way. Gretzky's son played baseball and wasn't very good at hockey.
     
  19. golfortennis Registered User

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    In fairness, Gretzky didn't want his boys playing hockey. It was a no-win proposal for them.

    But the athletic ability passed down is what is the key. Only a small percentage of players play professional baseball. The number of top athletes whose parents were world class in other sports is huge.
     
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  20. golfortennis Registered User

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    It's not about who jumps highest. It's about someone having a 34" SVJ has the neural-muscular efficiency to perform athletic functions at an elite level.

    And it is far lower than 10% who can legit jump 34".

    If you think there are not phenomenal genetics in NHL players, you are entitled to your opinion. If that is the case, why are some players better than others? They all work hard, so it's not that.
     
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  21. SomeDude Registered User

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    Becoming? The NHL and hockey has historically been filled by generations of families.
     
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  22. rambo97 Registered User

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    Interesting topic OP. I can see how and why you came up with your conclusions but this is just my humble opinion - I think it's not accurate and I'll explain why below.

    I have an 11 year old son that plays hockey here in Edmonton. He started late (7-8 years old in Novice) which was 4 years ago. He learned to skate young (about 3) in those learn to skate programs but he was functional - not good. He joined hockey and was placed in the worst tier (6). Last year (though messed up due to Covid) he got into tier 1. That's still not elite for his age group as there is double-A (which you have to apply for and try-out) and someone also started something called a super league (which may also have much better players though I'm not very knowledgeable about it). But he's improved a lot.

    We have gone on quite a journey to improve his hockey skills and I have learned a lot about what is needed to be a good hockey player. Hockey is much different than other sports as the skills needed are quite unique. You need to really develop your gross motor skills in order to excel. Hockey requires excellent skating (therefore need to practice it a lot), great stickhandling (again need to practice a lot), ability to shoot, hockey IQ, and strength and power (which means learning which exercises are needed to produce the effect you want) to skate well, stickhandle and shoot. And then you need to be able to combine all of the above skills together to be effective.

    I put my son in a bunch of camps around Edmonton to improve all the above. Some instructors are very knowledgeable and some aren't. And even putting him into a bunch of camps doesn't mean anything. Instructors aren't able to provide personalized coaching to your kid. So it's either up to the kid to figure it out or the parents and child to figure it out together.

    In any case, I strongly believe being knowledgeable about hockey (which former players are) gives their kids an advantage. And that is why their kids end up in the best league in the world more often.

    Going back to my kid as an example, I put him into a bunch of edge and skating classes to improve his skating and stickhandling classes. It did help him improve but to get him to the next level I had to become knowledgeable enough about all these different aspects to get him to the next level.

    For skating, when to use what technique in given situations, for stickhandling we had to learn dribbling because in order to look up while you are skating you need to dribble to puck and back and forth to know where it is without looking down. For shooting, how to shoot in stride, how to change angles of your shot etc. To be effective you really need to build a base and you need to build a lot of these at the right age or it becomes harder for kids to excel as they move up.

    With kids of former players, the Parents understand all this and put their kids in the right camps, with the correct instruction and then they are able to provide their own expertise to help their kids excel.

    Hockey is quickly becoming a sport with specialized knowledge. If you have it or can pay for someone to provide it to your kid, they will have an advantage. If you don't know this then your kid will likely struggle.

    I didn't know any of this when I started out.....I have had to do a ton of research and learn a lot along the way. And I made so many mistakes. In the first year, I put him into hockey year-round (winter & spring hockey) with lots of camps cause I thought that was the way to improve (using Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 hour rule as a guide). I then learned that was one of the worst mistakes parents can do (in any sport) after I read an ESPN article about the damage year round basketball was having on kids in the US (also researched a bunch of development models in Canada, US, Sweden and Finland to learn of my faulty logic). His first year going into Atom I made him jog with me for 20 min 3 times a week and learned afterward how that is one of the worst types of training for hockey players and will diminish how effective they are on the ice. Even something as simple the right stick length eluded me. I was shocked to see how the right stick length will improve skating for example.

    This is all something former hockey players already know and can impart that wisdom on their kids and thus giving them an advantage in the development phase. That is why I think you are seeing more former NHLers kids in the league.

    Also, I haven't read all the posts in this thread (just the last page). I see some discussion about genes.....they obviously matter but I encourage you to read the book "The Sports Gene". It will make you rethink your "genetics" angle.

    Also, someone mentioned that the internet now has all the training information anybody needs to excel these days so it shouldn't matter where they are from. This statement is kind of true but I will say for hockey, the training information is not as readily available or organized. Lots of information out there but some of it is accurate and others exist for monetary purposes only. Just research "right stick length" and see what you get (hint: you will get lots of posts about your chin, nose, eyebrow, etc but none of it is correct). And the right stick length will impact proper skating to such a great degree as well as stickhandling but it's crazy that it's so hard to find).

    This is very different for other sports. For example, for my son to learn and improve in basketball, baseball and lacrosse was much easier. There is much better information available for those sports vs hockey.

    That is why having a former NHLer is such an advantage for these kids. The development model is more laser-focused and proper/accurate. The kids get the right information, at the right time to accelerate their development. And as others have said, I think if you don't have money, hockey is a very difficult sport to play and/or excel in. I have learned a lot but I don't think I could have without spending money on camps to see what they were doing and trying to understand the logic and then learning. So I could have researched on the internet but I wouldn't know which advice to follow and which not to etc.

    If you have money and the knowledge/connections I think it gives your kids a competitive advantage. Obviously, no guarantees (as your size and IQ will impact your goals) but all these former NHLers kids have all these factors working in their favor to help them get to the NHL.
     
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  23. WhalerTurnedBruin55 Registered User

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    How many rinks/teams/programs are accessible in under an hour drive from where he was raised/played hockey? Does your son have relatives that play at any level?

    Honest question.

    I think affluence is just part of it, but acessibility and popularity are another. (If your son had a ton of similarly aged kids to play with, whether organically or found from programs), I think that may be part of him playing.

    Affluence gives people a leg up, but experience/exposure plays in, and in case of the OP point, especially if you have a familiar connection to it at any level.
     
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  24. robertmac43 Forever 43!

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    This is a really interesting post and hypothesis. I think you are definitely on to something here. I have season tickets to an OHL team and my Dad and I often do a thought experiment where we make a team of all the former NHL relatives playing in the game. The number is astounding in Junior hockey and think that would be a great place to look at the numbers as well.
     
  25. MadLuke Registered User

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    Depend on the city I would imagine, there is a small sweden single city: Örnsköldsvik - Wikipedia where the famous Modo team play, the city is around 32K, like Val-d'Or in Quebec and from that city you have that list of NHLER:
    NHL Players from Örnsköldsvik, Sweden - Regular Season Stats

    Sedin
    Sedin
    Forsberg
    Naslund
    Hedman
    Hedberg-Sundstrom

    Could be an small number aberration, could be popularity but :
    Victor Hedman on how minor hockey is different in Sweden - Sportsnet.ca

    Victor Hedman played hockey for the same organisation from 6 to 18 when he did leave for the NHL, without travel team, try out for level or camps you have to pay for.
     

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