A Whole New Game: Economics, Politics, and the Transformation of the Business of Hockey in Canada

Douglas & McIntyre. Mar. 2024. 256p. ISBN 9781771623803. $28.95. SPORTS
Canada has a long history of ice hockey; the International Ice Hockey Federation says the first organized game was played in Montreal in 1875. Canada also gets the credit for modernizing the sport and making it popular. Longley’s (An Absence of Competition: The Sustained Competitive Advantage of the Monopoly Sports Leagues) books shows the sport and the business side of it changed significantly after the 1967 National Hockey League (NHL) expansion, which doubled the number of teams to 12, mostly across the U.S. Now the league has seven Canadian teams and 25 American ones. Longley’s book indicates that throughout the last 50 years, Canadian society changed too, which the author says affected the sport of hockey there. He argues that an evolving Canada—the rise of free trade, tensions between eastern and western provinces, and the Quebec sovereignty movement—led to the “Disneyfication” of hockey, making the sport more reflective of corporations in the U.S. than of its Canadian roots.
VERDICT A solid and thorough look at the social and economic aspects of ice hockey and its history. It will appeal to diehard hockey fans and to readers interested in the business of sports.
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