May 312012
Representing Central Europe in the Stanley Cup Final

The Stanley Cup final started last night with the New Jersey Devils hosting the Los Angeles Kings. Unlike last year, when Zdeno Chára became the first Slovak captain of an NHL team to win the Cup, no Slovaks will be hoisting the trophy this year. But 6 players from Central European countries are playing in the Final. This, of course, is an exercise in American Robotnik-ness, if there is such a thing. In the NHL, team, rather than national, loyalties command attention. With both ‘my’ teams (Vancouver Canucks in […] Continue reading >

Jan 022012
The NHL Winter Classic and the Invention of Tradition

Inventing traditions is part and parcel of American culture, indeed a tradition in itself. Today’s exhibit: the NHL Winter Classic, the one and only outdoor game on the league’s schedule played on New Year’s Day (or the next day if the year’s first day falls on a Sunday). Traditions, as Eric Hobsbawm has shown in “The Invention of Tradition”, are cultural constructs. Underlining the strong commercial undercurrent of American culture, the motive for the NHL Winter Classic was business: the event originated at NBC Sports in an effort to boost the sport’s […] Continue reading >