I was confused a little when I looked at the Toronto Star this morning and not just by the recent change in web layout. I was clicking on this story about hockey and about Stephen Harper when it dawned on me that it was a story about hockey by Stephen Harper, the leader of the land. We are told in the byline:
Stephen Harper is prime minister of Canada, and is writing a book about the early history of Canadian hockey.Is there anything to make of this? Is it good? Do we care? Is it unrelated to his position. Certainly, it it were not for his position, the story would not have run let alone been the headline. And the article is certainly not without its socio-political economic message:
Outside Ontario, however, hockey was increasingly falling to the control of more commercially oriented men, including those who ran the competitions for hockey's highest prize, the Stanley Cup. So incensed was the OHA by the creeping professionalism of Cup competition that the league – which had never won the trophy – decided to boycott the competition altogether.So the tiny slice of hockey history chosen for publication today is about a central Canadian elite losing out to a a populist movement from outside Ontario though the introduction of a free market. Hmmm...where have I seen that theme before? Will we also get the full story of how those same free marketeers created a racket out of the game in the following decades that oppressed the skill of the worker for the cause of capitalist greed only broken by the glory of collective bargaining? Will Steve recount the waving that red banner high as well?
But ordinary Toronto hockey fans weren't buying the OHA line. They wanted Toronto to compete with the best. Despite the attacks and ridicule of the local hockey czars, and in spite of the team's indifferent performance, they flocked in great numbers that first year to see the locals play against the star players they could before only read about in the newspapers.
And why the Star at all, that bastion of center left liberalism? Why not the National Post or another conservative organ? Very odd.