A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘sports

[LINK] “China Wants To Be The Next Hockey Heavyweight”

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Over at Vice Sports, Sheng Peng describes the heavy investments being made into China into making China a hockey superpower. Russia is playing a particularly large role, in providing training and guidance, but there are also influences from Europe.

There is no Chinese word for “puck.” In fact, the most literal translation for “bingqiu”—Chinese for hockey—is “ice ball.” The Chinese are about as familiar with hockey as Wayne Gretzky is with badminton.

Yet off the West 4th Ring of Beijing on Sept. 5, 2016, the Kunlun Red Star were taking the ice for their home debut at LeSports Center. The Red Star are the newest franchise of the Russian-based KHL, thought to be the second-best league in the world after the NHL. In other words, what were they doing here?

[. . .]

China wants to flex again, as it did during the 2008 Summer Olympics. This time, the country is training to be a hockey heavyweight. Like Russia, the United States, or Canada. Really.

China has the capital. And right now, it has the motivation: In just six short years, all eyes will once again be on Beijing for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

China, as host country, will have a chance to field squads for both the men’s and women’s ice hockey tournaments. In arguably the Games’ most prestigious event, the hunger to be able to stand toe-to-toe with the best in the world is naturally greater. Not that far behind, also, is the specter of the “sick man of Asia”, which has dogged the Middle Kingdom’s last century.

But how can China transform its IIHF 37th-ranked men’s national team, which plays literally three rungs below the elite, into a unit with even a puncher’s chance in 2022?

Written by Randy McDonald

November 29, 2016 at 9:30 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Everyone loves the CFL (except Toronto)”

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The Globe and Mail‘s Cathal Kelly takes a look at the utter failure of the CFL to get Torontonians interested–or keep them interested, at least–in Canadian football, in the Toronto Argonauts, and in the Grey Cup being held this weekend.

On Sunday, we’ll get to watch how the Canadian Football League celebrates the demise of its franchise in the country’s largest city. It died during summer, but we’ve waited this long for the party. Attendance will be grudging. Then, they’ll play a game no one here cares about.

The only mourners – the rest of the CFL – are still stuck in the first stage of grief, which is denial.

“The goal for me is perpetuating the future of the CFL,” commissioner Jeffrey Orridge said this week, making the league sound rather like a coma patient. “It is really focused on making sure that the next 104 Grey Cups are as successful as the last 104.”

There’s a problem with that sentence. It assumes that this weekend’s 104th Grey Cup is already “successful.” By any reasonable measure, it isn’t. It’s a public-relations disaster. The only way it could get worse is if a piece of space debris crashes into BMO Field during the anthem.

On Wednesday, the Toronto Argonauts announced that there were “less than” 2,000 seats remaining for the game. This was framed as exciting news, rather than what it is – an admission of defeat.

Written by Randy McDonald

November 26, 2016 at 7:30 pm

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Beyond the Beyond notes an upcoming exhibition of photos of Vaclav Havel.
  • blogTO notes a local controversy over the demolition of a community-built skate park.
  • Centauri Dreams considers how advanced starfaring civilizations might deal with existential threats.
  • Crooked Timber looks at how presidential debates could be used to teach logic.
  • Language Hat examines the origins of the evocative Slavic phrase “they perished like Avars.”
  • Language Log notes how “Molotov cocktail” was confused by a Trump manager with “Mazel tov cocktail”.
  • The LRB Blog notes Brexit-related insecurity over the rule of law in the United Kingdom.
  • The Map Room Blog notes an exhibition in Maine of Acadian-related maps.
  • Marginal Revolution looks at how the Hong Kong press has been influenced by advertisers.
  • The NYRB Daily looks an exhibition of abstract expressionism.
  • The Planetary Society Blog looks at what we can learn from Rosetta.
  • Savage Minds considers the place of archeology in anthropology.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at Belarus’ commemoration of the Bolshevik Revolution and considers the dispute in Kazakhstan as to whether the country should be known as Qazaqstan.

[URBAN NOTE] “Toronto is good at sports — get used to it”

I have to admit that I like the optimism of CBC News’ Benjamin Blum, purely for reasons of municipal patriotism. Is this liking well-founded, sports fans?

Yes, you read the headline correctly.

This goes beyond the city’s reputation for unearned bravado and the usual bandwagon jumping that comes with success. There’s tangible support for this claim now.

Toronto FC’s 5-0 thrashing of New York City FC to reach the East final in the MLS playoffs, coupled with back-to-back ALCS trips for the Blue Jays and the Raptors’ run to the conference final in May have Toronto actually feeling good about its pro sports teams. Hell, even the Maple Leafs are fun to watch!

The last time Toronto’s sports teams collectively were this successful was in the early 1990s when the Jays won back-to-back World Series titles, the Argonauts won a Grey Cup with nickname hall-of-famers Rocket Ismail and Pinball Clemons and the Maple Leafs… well, only Wayne Gretzky and Kerry Fraser know for sure what happened in the 1993 Campbell conference final.

So how did we get here?

Written by Randy McDonald

November 7, 2016 at 8:45 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Mississauga Chiefs keep their name with First Nations blessing”

The Toronto Star‘s Azzura Lalani reports on a controversy I had not heard of before.

In the heated debate over teams with indigenous names and logos, one Mississauga team is keen on keeping theirs — and it has an indigenous community’s blessing.

The Mississauga Chiefs, who play in the Mississauga Girls Hockey League, have had the name since the team’s inception, but their logo, an arrowhead, was designed more recently after a dialogue with the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation.

“I don’t believe they have to change (their name),” said New Credit Chief Stacey Laforme. “They’re not the only people who have chiefs. We have police chiefs, fire chiefs …

“I don’t find it offensive and they represent themselves in a good way and they have met with us to talk. I think it’s an opportunity to educate them and to educate the fans.”

The Chiefs were among five hockey teams in Mississauga cited in a complaint to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario over team names and logos deemed “racially insensitive.”

Written by Randy McDonald

October 29, 2016 at 8:30 pm

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • blogTO warned yesterday of impending snowfall.
  • Centauri Dreams considers if planets in the circumstellar habitable zones of red dwarfs, like Proxima Centauri b, might tend to be ocean worlds.
  • Crooked Timber tries to track down the source of some American electoral maps breaking down support for candidates finely, by demographics.
  • D-Brief shares stunning images of L1448 IRS3B, a nascent triple stellar system.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the advent of same-sex marriage in Gibraltar.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that, the last time the Cubs won, Russia was run by Romanovs.
  • Maximos62 meditates on Bali as a plastic civilization.
  • The NYRB Daily reflects on how the Beach Boys have, and have not, aged well.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw looks at un- and underemployment in Australia.
  • Torontoist looks at what we can learn from the dedicated bus routes of Mexico City.
  • Understanding Society looks at economics and structural change in middle-income countries.
  • Window on Eurasia notes one man’s argument that Russians should be privileged as the only state-forming nation in the Russian Federation, and shares another Russia’s argument against any idea of Belarusian distinctiveness.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Beyond the Beyond links to an interview with Darran Anderson, a writer of cartographic fiction.
  • Centauri Dreams notes that 2028 will be a time when microlensing can b used to study the area of Alpha Centauri A.
  • The Crux engages with the question of whether or not an astronaut’s corpse could seed life on another planet.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a study that gathers together signals for planetary companions orbiting nearby stars.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that the only gay bar in Portland, Maine, is set to close.
  • Language Log notes the proliferation of Chinese characters and notes that a parrot could not be called to the stand in Kuwait.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that the last time the Chicago Cubs won, Germany was an empire.
  • The Map Room Blog notes the discovery of an ancient stone map on the Danish island of Bornholm.
  • The Planetary Society Blog examines some of the New Horizons findings of Pluto.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer argues that Venezuela is now a dictatorship.
  • Towleroad notes</a. controversy over a gay Utahn senator's visit to Iran.
  • Window on Eurasia notes a Russian cleric’s call for the children of ethnically mixed marriages in Tatarstan to be legally identified as Russians.