Yesterday, the NHL announced the postponement of both the Winter Classic (originally set to happen on January 1st) and the NHL All-Star Game (originally scheduled for January 29th-30th).
The league is still planning to start the regular season on January 1st, though they haven’t provided any further clarification on how they plan to go about it. I imagine it’s difficult to find a solution that doesn’t put people at risk of contracting COVID, but also doesn’t have too negative an impact on the mental health of the players. I’m personally very curious to see what they end up doing.
From the press release, it looks like the main concern about the Winter Classic and the All-Star game is that they can’t have fans in the stands. That definitely makes sense. While I eventually got used to watching playoff games without fans, and I can see it working for the regular season (insert joke about the Sens being used to playing in front of an empty arena), these types of special events are really designed for the fans. It just doesn’t make sense to put that much effort into an event like the Winter Classic or the All-Star game if you can’t have fans there. Here’s to hoping they follow through on those promises to host online events for the fans!
Speaking of next season… when are the Sens getting back on the ice?
As Spencer mentioned in yesterday’s LNN, the Sens, along with every other non-playoff team, have gotten permission to start their training camp early. The question, of course, is when that’s actually going to happen.
If the season is really going to start in January, that gives us just over two months to get ready, and that’s not even factoring in Christmas, which the players will probably want to spend with their families (but maybe they won’t be allowed to? Because of self-isolation rules?). This whole thing is so complicated.
It also makes me think about how teams haven’t been able to host development camps this year. I’m not sure how much that really affects player development, but it’s always a nice chance for the team to see what they have in terms of prospects. It’s weird not to get that.
It’s also interesting to think about who will be available for training camp. Usually, more players participate than end up making the team - and especially with no dev camp I’d expect some of the kids to get a shot - but it’s going to be a lot more difficult for players to get to Ottawa considering travel restrictions. Not to mention that it’s probably a good idea to have a smaller group if you’re trying to control the spread of a deadly virus.
I don’t have any answers to these questions, but I’m really curious to see what ends up happening. It’s been way too long since I last got to watch Sens hockey, and I’m really excited to see my boys again.
Since we’re on the topic of ~my boys~ why hasn’t Duclair been signed yet?
It sounds like the guy messed up by representing himself, but I’m really surprised that no other teams have signed him yet. I’ve heard a few rumours going around that the Sens might actually still be in the running, which is exciting, though I’m kind of annoyed at how this whole thing is going.
I’ll admit I haven’t watched Duclair very much as I wasn’t around last season, but what I have seen has been excellent and I think teams are really missing out if they’re not offering him a contract. I would also be very surprised if the Sens made him the best offer, but hey, you never know.
The fact that the Sens recently signed Connor Brown also adds an interesting dimension to this, as the two were linemates last season so it makes sense to keep both of them.
I guess the thing that makes me think Duclair is going to sign with another team is just the fact that it’s awkward. The Sens let him go. They couldn’t agree on a contract. I wouldn’t want to stay with a team that did that, personally. However, Duclair seems to like Ottawa, and the Sens don’t seem to have any problem with ruining their relationships with their players, so I guess you never know.
Women in Sports Media
I feel like this discussion never really goes away, so it kind of feels redundant to keep on talking about it, but there’s been slightly more talk than usual about women in sports media over on Twitter Dot Com, thanks to a few high profile people talking when they shouldn’t have. First, there was a sort of hit piece against Hailey Salvain that questioned whether she really experienced sexism, and more recently there’s been a lot of talk about whether women are *really* discriminated against in sports media, or if we just naturally don’t like sports.
As a “woman in sports media,” kind of, I guess, I often feel obligated to speak up about this kind of stuff whenever it comes up, but honestly? It’s exhausting. If you honestly think that women are underrepresented in sports media because we just naturally don’t like sports, I don’t know what to say to you. It’s also not lost on me that people tend to get way more upset about this stuff when it’s directed at white, cis women than when it’s directed at BIWOC or pretty much any non-cis person.
Still, because it’s apparently a thing that still needs to be said, I’m just going to reiterate that if there aren’t a lot of women in sports, it’s because sports are hostile to women. I was about eight years old when I started hearing things like “wow, I never would have pictured you as a hockey fan!” and “I’ll bet your dad is so happy that you’re taking an interest in sports!” (my dad does not like sports). It was only a few years later that I started noticing that my brothers were receiving more hockey merch than I was for Christmas and birthdays, despite the fact that they didn’t watch hockey and I did. I love having a blog about the Ottawa Senators, but I have literally never had any desire to pursue a career in sports media, in part because it just doesn’t seem like a good environment for me.
If no women are applying to write for you, look at what makes your organization unappealing to potential female applicants. How diverse is your writing team? How have you covered players who are accused of domestic violence or sexual assault? How often do you write about social justice? Are you sharing the work of female writers? Are you actively seeking out marginalized voices? Because people notice that stuff.
I think Silver Seven itself is proof that diverse sportswriters are out there. If you foster a welcoming environment, people will want to work with you. It’s that simple.
Battle of the Blades
Finally, I’m going to plug one of my favourite TV shows, which premiered last night and could help fill the hole in your heart that has been left behind by the end of hockey. Battle of the Blades pairs hockey players with figure skaters and teaches them how to figure skate. It is so much fun, and they have a fantastic lineup of skaters this year. If you’ve never watched figure skating before - as I hadn’t when I first discovered this show back in season 3 - I can assure you that you will still enjoy Battle of the Blades. It’s just… it’s fun. It’s so much fun. The numbers are so full of energy, and the hockey players always improve so much as the show continues.
It’s also all done to raise money for charity. Each pair is skating for a different charity, and all of them are excellent. I would highly recommend checking out this show on CBC every Thursday night. I’ll also be reviewing it over on Fangirlish.com if you want more of my thoughts on it.