On Saturday, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation celebrated Hockey Day In Canada with more than a dozen hours of coverage dedicated to the sport, including the broadcast of National Hockey League games involving all seven Canadian teams throughout the day. Since 2000, a hockey-mad community from somewhere in the country hosts a remote broadcast of Hockey Night In Canada that lasts the entire day. In addition to the games, the CBC features several personal interest stories that reinforce the sport’s place in the nation’s culture.
This year’s host city was Peterborough, Ontario, where frozen parts of the Trent-Severn Waterway and the old Memorial Centre arena provided on-site locations for Ron MacLean, assorted panels of “experts” and Don Cherry to preach nationalism in the guise of advice to keep one’s stick on the ice while in front of the net. It’s a cynic’s field day, but before we turn a critical eye to the viewer grab and the glossed over motivations of the broadcast, it should be mentioned that the coverage represents some of Canada’s best sports television.