Sunday, September 17, 2006

Hockey - A People's History

Canada’s fascination with the national sporting obsession gets another look see on the CBC starting on Sunday night. As a documentary, Hockey - A people's history, about Canada’s favourite game begins its five week run, destined to make a dandy DVD collection just in time for Christmas gift giving. The program will air each Sunday at 8 pm, rebroadcast on Newsworld on Mondays at 10 pm.

It’s almost becoming a bit of cliché this love of hockey and the seemingly endless programs that we devote to the sport, it’s our national game treasured by millions, many with fond remembrances to their youth, others with dreams for their future.

But it does seem that whenever a TV network needs a bit of a ratings bump they commission some kind of documentary, docu drama or feature presentation about the game of our fall, winter and spring (and sometimes damn near our summer as well). At times hockey themed programming seems to be as common as those old Hinterland Who's who features of the old days. Televisions pre-occupation with hockey gets a bit of an investigation on the Canoe websites review of the mini series.

The show traces the development of the game from the 1800’s right up to this year. Not limiting itself to just the NHL, the program will look at the people and the issues that made the game so popular from sea to sea to sea.

The CBC has a handy website feature that provides you with all sorts of information about the project. From timelines of Hockey history, to episode recaps, a Virtual Hot Stove and even a quiz to see if you’ve really been paying attention.

While it no doubt will sing to the choir as far as hockey fans go, it may be a harder task to attract those casual television viewers that like to click from channel to channel. Hockey Night in Canada is said to get approximately 2 million viewers or so per weekend, that in a country of over 30 million. So the producers of a people’s history must be hoping that some of the unconverted come on by for a bit of a look.

As Canoe points out though, the competition will be tough; opening night features the final of Canadian Idol and the debut of a new season of The Amazing Race. Two shows that have traditionally found a wide and loyal audience in Canada.

We wonder if it will be a test of our nationhood if CTV should win the nights battles.

Perhaps they could begin taking advance orders for the DVD collection, while it may be too much to hope that we stay tuned week after week, it just might make a dandy stocking stuffer for December 25th!

The above post first appeared on my A Town Called Podunk blog, my general interest portal to the web.

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