- Hockey: A Global History by Stephen Hardy, and Andrew C. Holman
The sport of hockey has evolved over the centuries, shaped by numerous cultures, people, places, and technologies. The evolution of the most popular global version of hockey today is complex and thus deserving of an original, comprehensive, and systematic account. Hockey: A Global History, written by Stephen Hardy and Andrew Holman, is an exceptionally well-researched and well-written scholarly book, exhaustively capturing pivotal moments in the development and spread of global hockey. [End Page 171]
The twenty-three chapters of the book are divided into four parts that trace four great periods of modern hockey's history: Early games to 1877, 1877–1920, 1920–1971, and 1972–2010. Across these four parts, the book delves into four essential themes: (a) success and efforts or failure and struggles of hockey governing bodies, bureaucrats, entrepreneurs, coaches, and players across and within nations and continents to make hockey a truly global sport; (b) flows of commercialized and professionalized management practices to the global phenomenon of corporate hockey in both North American and Europe; (c) the rise, challenges, and rebound of organized hockey for women, people of color, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ people; and (d) the impacts of technological advancements on the development and spread of hockey as a global sport (for example, communication, indoor rinks, and hockey equipment/training).
The exceptional contribution of this book to sport studies literature is in Hardy and Holman's chronological classification of the development of hockey into three successive stages: convergence (1875–1920), divergence (1920–1971), and reconvergence (1972–2010). Their framework not only gives the reader a complete picture of modern hockey history as well as a detailed history of each period but also implies a compelling theoretical foundation according to three paradigms of cultural globalization (Jan Nederveen Pieterse, Globalization and Culture, 43–63). These three paradigms include cultural convergence (for example, Americanization: McDonaldization); differentialism (like a clash of civilizations: The Iron Curtain); and mixing (for example, hybridization). The global version of hockey known today has evolved from all these culture-specific globalization paradigms.
To this reviewer, each development stage has an explicable foundation in theories from the globalization and culture literature. In the first stage of the framework, Hardy and Holman take the reader into the emergence of the Montreal (Canadian) version of hockey, which played a crucial role in the sport's early development. The authors then shift from the spread and convergence of Montreal hockey (for example, Canadian style and rules) to "the diverging world of Canada's game" (189). This second stage, from 1920 to 1971, encompasses the battles for branding and dynamic tension among global, national, and local governing bodies. In particular, there were various conflicts over rules, patterns/styles of play, the truth about amateurism, and player contract and eligibility. Hardy and Holman's final stage of the framework, called "corporate hockey" (377), demonstrates a period in which various elements and forms of the game shifted from divergent to convergent. Their primary conclusion is that many aspects of hockey's infrastructure, commodification, and culture after 1972 began to be reshaped toward the National Hockey League's version of the game.
Other impactful contributions of the book include its depth and breadth of referenced material. The 486-page content draws upon more than 1,200 credible and useful references. Hardy and Holman competently reference a wide variety of original resources to provide rich evidence and constructed narratives. Aligning with the impressive collection of global hockey data, the book's breadth of coverage is a notable accomplishment. Even though Hardy and Holman primarily focus on North American and European hockey history, they have also incorporated stories about hockey in some countries in Oceania and East Asia. Furthermore, the skillful integration of marketing and branding concepts and illustrations and financial aspects (such as the profits of Victoria Rink in 1883) to a history book is very engaging. Despite the aforementioned contributions, this book and [End Page...