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Icing the puck : the origins, rise, and decline of Newfoundland senior hockey, 1896-1996

Memorial University of Newfoundland
Publication Date
  • Economics
  • Medicine


One hundred years ago, transplanted Canadians introduced the game of ice-hockey to Newfoundlanders. This thesis tracks the history of Newfoundland hockey within the context of the Island's socio-economic development. It identifies three broad, overlapping periods which characterize the sport's trajectory, namely: moral entrepreneurship, civic entrepreneurship, and corporate entrepreneurship. These stages are exemplified in three case studies of Newfoundland hockey playing communities — St. John's, Buchans, and Corner Brook. The infusion of colonial sporting tradition, the rational recreation movement, the involvement of women, amateur-professional controversies, civic promotion (boosterism), and the 'importing' of semi-professional players are also examined. The practice of 'importing' semi-professional players is particularly important given its contribution to the decline of community-based Senior hockey in the province. The analysis concludes by considering the growing tendency toward the corporatization of sport, and the implications of this trend for peripheral regions such as Newfoundland.

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