Monday Matters! “Hockey & Immigration:Bridging the Cultural Gap in Canada”

A friend of mine, Peter, recently told me about his experience of immigrating to Canada from Mongolia, and he shared what his perceptions were of the compulsory course on Canadian culture he had to take. While he appreciated the content of the course, he found it to be “formal” and lacking in substance for him to be able to integrate  what he learned with the “man on the street” on a day-to-day basis. When I asked Peter what he thought might have been more helpful, he immediately said “hockey!” He went on to explain that everyone talks about hockey and if he understood the game, he would have felt a part of something, and able to contribute, rather than feeling left out.

There is no question that hockey plays a significant role in the lives of Canadians and can unify the country in ways very few things can. In 2010, during the Olympics, the gold medal game between Canada and the United States drew the largest audience for a single television event in Canadian history. The overtime goal by Sydney Crosby giving Canada the gold medal set off a sequence of celebratory events around the country that was unparalleled. The YouTube video below captures this phenomena and clearly illustrates that hockey is a unifying factor in this country.

So, check it out. What if immigrants to Canada were offered a training course on learning about the game of hockey as a way to understand Canadian culture? What if, through learning about the game of hockey, immigrants also learned about aspects of hockey like teamwork, perseverance and dealing with adversity, which would be valuable learning outcomes in anyone’s life? What if this new knowledge and understanding of hockey gave immigrants a way to integrate into Canadian society more readily and with more confidence? And, what if, through learning about the game of hockey, immigrants encouraged their children to play the sport? Hockey Canada might be very interested in such an outcome.

Makes sense huh? I’m working on it…smiling…let me know if you have something to add!