The Population Myth (Outline)

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Canadiens1958, Jun 30, 2011.

View Users: View Users
  1. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2007
    Messages:
    18,435
    Likes Received:
    1,615
    Trophy Points:
    179
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Lake Memphremagog, QC.
    There seems to be a view that the development of hockey is directly linked to population size and growth. That if a population of x prodeces y quality hockey players then a population of Ax should produce Ay hockey players. Rather basic view that is not supported historically or even today.

    The growth and development of hockey, historically and to this day has been influenced by three elements - financial resources, arena infra structure and human resources in terms of administration combined with coaching.

    Canada as a country did not start producing hockey players until the 1970's. Previously only regions and pockets of Canada produced hockey players.

    A few examples to move things forward. From the start of hockey, do not wish to get into a date or place debate the following have to be considered.

    1.) until the formation of the NHA the various amateur teams in the Montreal area that competed for the Stanley Cup were almost entirely composed of Anglophone players. Francophones played hockey with an equal if not greater degree of skill - see Pitre, Laviolette, Vezina but the organizational aspects, indoor rinks, were not present in the areas where they played while the cost/benefit factor was not there either.

    2.) pre NHA hockey strongly represented the SW Montreal / Ottawa / Kingston triangle. Most of the recognized players came from or gravitated to the area. Toronto, a large population base lagged for awhile and hockey suffered until Stafford Smythe built MLG. Then it exploded.

    3.) Quebec Bulldogs - two time Stanley Cup champions did not have any francophone players. To compete and win it was not necessary to have a large base of players from diverse backgrounds. Francophones in the Quebec City area were playing hocket as they were in various parts beyond Quebec City.

    4.) The Patricks, Frank and Lester, from Drummondville via Montreal to Vancouver and the PCHA . Population did not shift with each move they made. Money, the ability to administer, coach with an appropriate infra-structure did.Once the Patrick's left hockey in BC lagged not keeping pace until the money and infra-structure issues were addressed starting in the late fifties.

    NHL 1917 - 1967
    5.) Montreal as an island did not produce a varied group of hockey players. Most came from the SW districts and central Montreal. Some like Maurice Richard once junior age had to travel from the northern end of the island to play in Verdun.Even today that would be a one hour trip each way. Arenas were lacking.

    6.) Post WWII saw arenas being built in remote areas. More accurately aircraft or war installations were adapted. Very quickly regions like the Abitibi produced elite hockey players. Rouyn-Noranda being the prime example - Dave Keon an Jacques Laperriere. Bagotville in the Saguenay yielded Jean-Claude Tremblay

    6.) The overwhelming majority of Canadian hockey players came from the five central provinces - Quebec,Ontario,Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta. The two coasts lagged. First Newfoundlander was Alex Faulkner in the early 1960's, yes Newfoundland also converted war effort buildings into arenas.There were a few from the maritime provinces - Al MacNeil, Parker MacDonald, Willie O'Ree some from B.C. but nowhere near proportionate to population.

    7.)USA. thru the 1930' the USA was producing NHL caliber hockey players relative to limited population. Brimsek and Karakas were excellent goalies and there were skaters as well. The introduction of the Red Line in the NHL changed this growth. Amateur hockey in the USA did not adopt the Red Line and development stagnated while participation grew. Rebounded very strongly once the Red Line was adopted by USA amateur hockey.

    Post 1967 NHL
    8.) Part of the 1967 Canadian Centennial celebrations, featured an emphasis on building community infra structures. Community centers built around an arena or just a basic arena were built in communities from coast to coast. Montreal went from zero municipal arenas to app 30 within 10 years.

    Net result was that minor hockey exploded. Travel teams formed across Canada since the uncertainty associated with outdoor ice was eliminated, Tournaments sprung up and it was possible to play hockey virtually year round. Produced many NHL players by the late 1970's.

    This is just a short outline. No definitive conclusions are being presented or even hinted at. Just points to start discussions.

    The following link:

    http://www.hockeycanada.ca/

    leads to historic data nationally or provincially by region. Logos at the top of the page access provincial and regional branches.

    Comments appreciated.
     
  2. Killion

    Killion Registered User

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2010
    Messages:
    36,504
    Likes Received:
    2,672
    Trophy Points:
    156
    That wouldve' been Staffords father, Conn Smythe who built Maple Leaf Gardens, opened on November 12th, 1931. Previously, Toronto had and contemporaneously to the Gardens several indoor arenas and dozens of outdoor rinks, including the Mutual Street Arena & Varsity Arena, all of which hosted amateur teams & leagues, schools, Jr.&Sr. etc.

    In 1911, Frank Smith & Fred Waghorne Sr. (member of the HHOF, Builders Category) formed the Beaches Hockey League after several years of running the Toronto Lacrosse League (Lacrosse in the summers, Hockey in the winter), which then became the Toronto Hockey League, then the Metro Toronto Hockey League (72) to todays Greater Toronto Hockey League, the Worlds largest amateur hockey league & system. In the 60's, 20,000 players were registered, today, over 50,000, and since about 1916, well over 500 players, some of its coaches & referee's gone on to the pro's, be it minor leagues or the NHL, 1000's to Major Junior, Provincial, College & University play.

    Consisting of over 50 member clubs in divisions from Tyke to Juvenile (18-21, now called U21), with AAA, AA & A levels in most though not all age categories, a large number of the individual member clubs also run their own House Leagues and some also field teams in the North York Hockey League and others, which is the equivalent of the GTHL's AA or A level depending on division. Their was an explosion of new arenas' throughout the GTA in the early 60's; many of the older outdoor rinks, municipally owned & operated covered with your basic steel roof, I-beams & cinder block walls. Very basic.

    In terms of any "lag" in the growth of hockey at the amateur level in hockey in the early years of the 20th century, there really wasnt one, as even through WW1 the THL continued to grow & flourish, though like a lot of cities throughout Canada & the US, the influenza flu pandemic of 1918-19 put a stop to large gatherings & congregations, including the cancellation of the Stanley Cup challenge on the West Coast when several players on the Montreal Canadiens fell ill, claiming the life of Joe Hall within days & the teams Manager a short time later. Fred Waghorne Sr. was an interesting & innovative fellow; introducing whistles to the referee's who had previously used cow bells; dropping the puck from 3' up at a face-off rather than "placing" the puck on the ice in between the opposing centermen & so on......

    Numerous Sr & Jr teams & leagues have come & gone & come back again through Toronto of course, a whole other chapter & story. The creation & building of Maple Leaf Gardens was an important milestone in the history of the Toronto Maple Leafs and to a lesser extent the Toronto Marlboro's, St. Mikes Majors and for awhile the Toronto Nats who also played "home" games out of the Gardens, but really, its importance to the "growth" of hockey in Toronto as a useable facility by minor teams of the THL/MTHL/GTHL was never on. Occassionally, rarely, the Marlie Pee Wee's or Midgets might get some ice time for a practice, maybe even the odd game, but nothing more, and certainly not after Ballard got his claws on the wheel. Its a wonder he even gave the Toronto Marlies Jr. A team office space & ice time through to the mid to late 80's. I guess he did have some sentimental streaks running through him after all.....
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2011
  3. Tinalera

    Tinalera Registered User

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2007
    Messages:
    6,515
    Likes Received:
    36
    Trophy Points:
    101
    Location:
    The Known Universe
    I love coming to this forum, I learn so much! :)
     
  4. Killion

    Killion Registered User

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2010
    Messages:
    36,504
    Likes Received:
    2,672
    Trophy Points:
    156
    Hah!. I just made all that stuff up TL. Ergodic posts. Referencing people & things that never existed. If I could include footnotes with yet more references, lines from movies, stats, whatever thats total fiction being sold as fact?. Then we get creative.... :naughty:

    Nice new avatar btw.
    Very Dr. Zhivago
    Julie Christie
    I like
    Julie
    Christie
    :):laugh:
     
  5. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2007
    Messages:
    18,435
    Likes Received:
    1,615
    Trophy Points:
    179
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Lake Memphremagog, QC.
    Correct

    Correct about the Smythes just got ahead of myself.
     
  6. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2007
    Messages:
    18,435
    Likes Received:
    1,615
    Trophy Points:
    179
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Lake Memphremagog, QC.
    Very Informative

    Very informative contribution. Thank you.

    Perhaps lag was not the best word. Growth was not equal throughout nor constant. The Toronto area growth was based on improving features seen elsewhere and they did a great job to and beyond the construction of Maple Leaf Gardens. At the same time Ottawa dropped back, eventually losing the Senators with little growth at the youth and no significant arena construction until the Civic Center and the 67s in time for the Canadian Centennial

    Part of the issue was the lack of a national vision or plan that unified how hockey was viewed long term. Another part was that the building of the appropriate infra structure ,namely arenas was hit and miss. In areas where there was an economic boom arenas would get built. Mauricie area of Quebec - Shawinigan and Trois Rivieres with the pulp and paper, aluminum, hydro, mills saw arenas built in the twenties.

    Other cities built arenas during the depression as make work projects, imitating MLG on a much smaller scale.Other areas saw arenas built after WWII converting military installations into arenas, mainly a luck of the draw scenario. Building exists, no other use, that arena we've been talking about might work.
     
  7. Hardyvan123

    Hardyvan123 [email protected]

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2010
    Messages:
    17,552
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Vancouver
    Not so sure about conclusions, as per the title and some comments from OP on other forums regarding the level of competition form 06 era to present day (part of the argument goes that there is a higher level of competition in todays game than in 06 times due in part to the larger pool of players and some of that is attributed to population growth).

    Historically hockey on the west coast, most of the population lives on or near the coast, lagged behind due to the lack of shiny or pick up games on frozen ponds IMO.

    Hockey hotbeds in the US are entirely, until recently , in areas where outdoor games are easier to play (both organized and pickup play).

    Many past players had rinks in their backyards all winter promoting more playing time and at a very early age as well.
     
  8. Killion

    Killion Registered User

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2010
    Messages:
    36,504
    Likes Received:
    2,672
    Trophy Points:
    156
    Ya, the outdoor aspect, unsupervised shinny on schoolyard & backyard rinks, frozen sloughs, ponds & lakes was a critical factor. Certainly throughout the interior & northern portions of BC the availability of free icetime in pursuit of the sport saw many a player seemingly come from nowhere at a late age having never been afforded the opportunity of organized or league play that simply wasnt available in far flung outposts.

    Brian "Spinner" Spencer of Fort St. James for example didnt play organized hockey until quite late. John Ferguson, who grew up around the PNE was a stick boy for the old WHL Canucks, and he too had a later start than most playing organized/supervised hockey, and had no access to free outdoor rinks & playtime. The history of amateur hockey in BC is really quite fascinating, as we have such diverse climatic & economic conditions, creating some unusual & unique variations on much that was taken for granted in eastern Canada.

    I myself was very lucky, having grown up within 4 blocks of a full sized free schoolyard outdoor rink (natural ice) back east that before warmer winters was available from December to mid-March every year. One of Vancouvers former players, John Grisdale, & his younger brother Rick also played on the same surface, along with several others who went on to have cups' of coffee at the NHL & minor pro levels.
     
  9. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2007
    Messages:
    18,435
    Likes Received:
    1,615
    Trophy Points:
    179
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Lake Memphremagog, QC.
    Inner City

    Inner city households in the working class parts of the major eastern cities [ Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, where hockey was played did not have backyards of any consequence where a rink could be built and larger back yards were used to park the car or to stable the horse and carriage/wagon.

    On the other hand it was common in these cities to have 10 - 15 outdoor rinks within a 15 minute walk.Combination of municipal parks, public and private schools, community organizations, social organizations.The outdoor rinks would vary in size to accommodate different age groups - mini with smaller nets for the intro levels, typical park size thru the mid teen levels and regulation for the late teens and adults.

    The issue of uniform age groupings was another concern that took years to standardize, until 3 seasons ago Canada was not completely on the same page re defining the hockey age for youth hockey.
     
  10. Iain Fyffe

    Iain Fyffe Hockey fact-checker

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
    Messages:
    3,509
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Fredericton, NB
    Home Page:
    You've completely missed out Manitoba, which was a massive producer of hockey players from 1900 into the 1920s. Many of the western players (PCHA, WCHL) learned the game in Manitoba. If you focus only on eastern players, of course you're going to miss Manitoba.

    The idea that population alone cannot predict the number of hockey players, to me, seems obvious. Simplistic explanations are often incorrect or at best terribly misleading. So it's certainly a myth that all you need is population.

    However, if you're suggesting that population has no effect on a country or region's ability to produce hockey players, that's another matter.

    Population is one factor among many that would need to be considered.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2011
  11. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2007
    Messages:
    18,435
    Likes Received:
    1,615
    Trophy Points:
    179
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Lake Memphremagog, QC.
    Regions and Gypsies

    Time precludes considering all regions at once. Different posters are more than welcome to contribute about various regions throughout Canada as their time and background allows.

    Predictions are not part of the equation. Quoting Toe Blake "Predictions are for gypsies".
     
  12. Killion

    Killion Registered User

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2010
    Messages:
    36,504
    Likes Received:
    2,672
    Trophy Points:
    156
    Absolutely. Climatological & socio-economic criterias' also need to be included. Historical references, cultural references; immigration & settlement. The "birth" of the game in Halifax-Kingston; the Montreal Rules. The amateur, junior, senior leagues in the Maritimes, Quebec, Ont/Mb/Sk/Al/BC. The "company" teams & leagues. Not to be forgotten; Minnesota, Michigan & the NE US who also contributed much to the game throughout the late 19th through early 20th Century. Population is but one small swatch of the fabric.
     
  13. danincanada

    danincanada Registered User

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    Messages:
    2,288
    Likes Received:
    99
    Trophy Points:
    101
    I don't think anyone has ever stated that simply due to more people we will inevitably have more and better hockey players, otherwise China would be a hockey power. In order for that to happen you also require these:

    One crucial element which appears to be missing is young people who are physically capable and interested in playing hockey. Now there are four elements and I would venture to say that they have all grown with population since the infancy of hockey. There are more young hockey players, more arena's, more people associated with hockey (admin. and coaches), and financial resources have increased as well. The growth of hockey has not been completely linear but it has been very consistent in the fact that it has been growing ever since the beginning of the sport, branching out via those who already love the game.

    This isn't just the case for Canada either, of course. The US and many countries in Europe have all had increases in each area, some of which have shown huge growth. Russia may be the only hockey nation that has shrunk or remained stagnant recently but even they are trying to build their hockey program back up.

    With more young people and opportunities to excel at hockey we see more elite athletes. In the past we never saw Europeans like Lidstrom, Forsberg, Hasek or Jagr in the NHL, who were all the best players in the world at their positions at one point. This shows that if non-Canadians have the same opportunities as Canadians in terms of coaching and ice-time they can also be elite. With more elite players coming from various countries it heightens the competition level in all areas, making for a stronger NHL. It's not just Canada producing the world's best hockey players anymore.

    So population is obviously not the only factor, but as long as those 4 elements are their with the increase in population then we should see an increase in elite hockey players being developed in those nations that play the sport. This inevitably leads to a deeper and more competitive NHL.
     
  14. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2007
    Messages:
    18,435
    Likes Received:
    1,615
    Trophy Points:
    179
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Lake Memphremagog, QC.
    Constants and False Positives.

    Young people who are physically willing and able have always been around in all the countries. Just part of the life cycle. Previously those that were athletically inclined practised a multitude of sports. Great hockey players like Doug Harvey, Lionel Conacher were multi=sport athletes going from one sport to another as seasons changed. Today from a young age youngster are required to choose a sport if they want to be elite.So hockey loses while other sports gain - evidenced in Canada with recent successes in the 3 other major sports and amateur sports - Olympics.

    Various other countries are experiencing downturns - Slovaks, Czechs, Finns except for goalies have not produced skaters the caliber of Selanne and Kurri, USA is questioning their approach to skilled forwards, there are developmental issues throughout.

    False positives. in the fifties Sweden happened to produce a heavyweight world professional boxing champion - Ingemar Johansson:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ingemar_Johansson

    Today you have Wladimir Klitschko from Ukraine:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wladimir_Klitschko

    Regardless the provenance you always have the question of sustainable development and growth. False positives abound in all sports. Hockey is no exception.
     
  15. danincanada

    danincanada Registered User

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    Messages:
    2,288
    Likes Received:
    99
    Trophy Points:
    101
    How can you assume that only hockey is losing athletes to other sports?

    Do you believe that there are fewer people playing hockey now worldwide than in the past?
     
  16. Killion

    Killion Registered User

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2010
    Messages:
    36,504
    Likes Received:
    2,672
    Trophy Points:
    156
    Very true. False starts are another consideration, incomplete & hasty plans pursuant to the NHL's expansion southward ho', based more on the size of the applicants chequebook than a reasoned approach. Almost incidental & by accident that players are now coming from out of the way regions in the US. Dallas & few others have done a great job in cultivating the game (and thus interest & entry level participation) at the amateur levels but so much more should & could be done. Imagine what the league could possibly look like in 20yrs if some of the naturally talented southern & southwestern athletes who opt for football, basketball or baseball instead of hockey would look like. Kids have to choose, and unfortunately the scarcity of facilities & costs, commitments in terms of time makes it difficult.

    The NHLPA has a program called Dreams&Goals, sort of a barnstorming program whereby equipment is parachuted into inner-city US/Cdn & off-shore regions with camps & clinics held to introduce kids to the game who would otherwise never get the chance to try it out, however, far more should & be could be done. As the NHL is a business whose mandate does not include the nurturing & development of the sport at the amateur levels, its tough to demand that they, in conjunction with the teams in places like San Jose, Phoenix or a Nashville pony up & support such development. In a perfect World they would do so, in conjunction with the PA, investing in infrastructure, aiding & guiding youth organizations & volunteers in the establishment of minor league systems & the like.

    Indeed, I've always felt that potentially, it could be a fairly lucrative endeavor with corporate sponsorships & such for the league, its teams & the PA, beyond the benevolence that such a program would engender, for I do feel that the greatest potential for even better players than what we've seen to date rests in the south, deep in slumber.
     
  17. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2007
    Messages:
    18,435
    Likes Received:
    1,615
    Trophy Points:
    179
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Lake Memphremagog, QC.
    The Issues.

    No one is stating or assuming that it is only hockey. You have in fact admitted, within the framework of your question, that hockey is losing athletes to other sports so it is not maximizing participation.

    Fewer people playing hockey world wide? Reliable raw numbers in Canada, the USA go back to the sixties in most jurisdictions.Today raw numbers indicate that participation is increasing but optimization is another issue altogether.

    The Soviets pre Russia were able to optimize from a very small base similar to Canada when hockey was in its formative stage. Russia once the Soviet Union broke up was not able to sustain grass roots growth with elite optimization.
     
  18. Killion

    Killion Registered User

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2010
    Messages:
    36,504
    Likes Received:
    2,672
    Trophy Points:
    156
    Yes, it certainly is quite incredible what Anatoli Tarasov accomplished from about 1946-47 on, with hockey having little to no history in the Soviet Union, though Bandy a popular game for generations. That "small base" was a "Hockey Department" of about one to begin with under the auspices of the Red Army Sports Club / CSKA Moscow, which within a decade was extremely competitive. Russians of course fell in love with the game, and with Tarasov thinking outside of the box the Soviet Style of making 270 passes to the other teams 150 over the course of a game & the transitions that created was almost unstoppable. It just goes to show how quickly the sport can grow if given the hothouse/icehouse treatment & the resources to make it happen.
     
  19. danincanada

    danincanada Registered User

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    Messages:
    2,288
    Likes Received:
    99
    Trophy Points:
    101
    No sport or activity can ever "maximize participation" because people tend to pick what they want to do and not everyone wants to play hockey. To me it appears as though hockey has grown in every area.

    Do you think there are fewer hockey players worldwide now than in the 50's? It's a simple question so you can give a yes or no answer.
     
  20. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2007
    Messages:
    18,435
    Likes Received:
    1,615
    Trophy Points:
    179
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Lake Memphremagog, QC.
    Reliable Numbers

    I only deal in reliable raw numbers. You constantly fail to support any of your positions with raw numberss - bolded.
     
  21. seventieslord

    seventieslord Student Of The Game

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2006
    Messages:
    31,935
    Likes Received:
    767
    Trophy Points:
    169
    Location:
    Regina, SK
    I agree 100%.
     
  22. Pear Juice

    Pear Juice Registered User

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2007
    Messages:
    807
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    64
    Occupation:
    Molecular Biologist
    Location:
    Gothenburg, SWE
    Just had to comment when I saw this name. Ingemar 'Ingo' Johansson is probably among the very few athletes in Swedish sports history that could apply for the title 'Sweden's most popular athlete'. In a petition held by the Swedish Sports Academy to decide the greatest Swedish athlete of the 20th century he placed 3rd behind Ingemar Stenmark and Björn Borg. This is remarkable as both Borg and Stenmark dominated their respective sports to a much higher degree than Ingo ever did. Ingo is extremely highly thought of here, especially in his hometown Gothenburg, Johanssons legacy is likely greater than that of any hockey player.
     
  23. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2007
    Messages:
    18,435
    Likes Received:
    1,615
    Trophy Points:
    179
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Lake Memphremagog, QC.
    Legacy

    Ingemar Johansson may be amongst Sweden's top three athlete's but his accomplishments did not in anyway stimulate the growth of Swedish boxing over the last 50 years even though the population of Sweden has increased since the late 1950's.
     
  24. danincanada

    danincanada Registered User

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    Messages:
    2,288
    Likes Received:
    99
    Trophy Points:
    101
    I haven't seen any raw numbers from you. Please post them so we can see how the number of hockey players worldwide has shrunk since the 50's. That would be very interesting to see.
     
  25. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2007
    Messages:
    18,435
    Likes Received:
    1,615
    Trophy Points:
    179
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Lake Memphremagog, QC.
    Links

    Links were posted to the the various Hockey Canada sites where each provincial region is available with data registration once such records were kept. Anyone motivated can find the data for the Canadian provinces and from the international links via Hockey Canada ca find data. for the rest of the hockey playing world. Sadly the data does not go very far back.

    No one has ever claimed that the number of hockey players has shrunk world wide since the 1950's. Before such a claim may be entertained the actually numbers for the fifties have to be available. Provide such verifiable numbers and we will move forward.
     

Share This Page

monitoring_string = "358c248ada348a047a4b9bb27a146148"