The Shotgun Blog
Friday, January 02, 2009
Right player, wrong honour
Perhaps I do not understand how the Order of Canada is supposed to work.
I was under the impression that the Order was designed to recognize a lifetime's worth of acheivement. But, when I heard on Tuesday that Willie O'Ree, the first black player to play in the NHL, had been named to the Order of Canada, I was puzzled.You see, Mr. O'Ree played most of his hockey in the days of the old six team NHL, and wound up playing only 45 games in two stints in the bigs.
It's great that he made it to the NHL, but he wasn't that successful there. While I would certainly agree that he should be in the Hockey Hall of Fame, appointing him to the Order of Canada leaves the impression that it is his skin colour that matters more to those making the appointment rather than what he was able to achieve in the NHL. "Breaking the colour barrier" for an American team--the Boston Bruins--seems to be of less significance for a rare honour intended for Canadians of all walks of life.
A much better way to recognize that Candians know that people of all races can do well in the NHL if given a fair opportunity, which is what I think that the Order of Canada organizers were trying to recognize by appointing Mr. O'Ree, would be to appoint someone like a Grant Fuhr to the Order. We don't need tokenism, rather we could merely acknowledge the records of success (by anyone's standards) that are already there to be recognized.
But, when I heard on Tuesday that Willie O'Ree, the first black player to play in the NHL, had been named to the Order of Canada, I was puzzled.
Posted by Rick Hiebert on January 2, 2009
So was I. He wasn't very good as a player and he hasn't lived in Canada for years. He now runs the NHL's "diversity" (by diversity I guess they mean black) program, which judging from the number of diverse players in the NHL isn't very successful either. Let's face it, blacks would rather play basketball. They should give the Order of Canada to George Armstrong. Great player, captain of a Stanley Cup winning team and a native Canadian. Could you imagine a native player today being called "The Chief" ?
Posted by: The Stig | 2009-01-02 7:53:27 PM
Stay classy, Western Standard
Posted by: Chrome | 2009-01-02 11:51:16 PM
"Let's face it, blacks would rather play basketball."
Ughhh. I'm sure what you actually meant was "Let's face it, the astronomical amount of money that's spent on college athletics is being directed to ensure that American sports keep up the status quo and don't mix things up too much."
Posted by: Alex T | 2009-01-03 12:21:25 PM
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