cover image The Same but Different: Hockey in Quebec

The Same but Different: Hockey in Quebec

Edited by Jason Blake and Andrew Holman. McGill-Queen’s Univ. (CDC, U.S. dist.; GTW, Canadian dist.), $32.95 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-7735-5055-1

In this complex scholarly study, Blake and Holman (Canada’s Game: Hockey and Identity) ask readers to look beyond the popular view that the Montreal Canadiens define hockey in Quebec. Although this work can be challenging, it provides an insightful view of Quebecois nationalism and the complicated relationship between Quebec and the rest of Canada as reflected on the ice. “We both speak of it as our national game, and yet our notions of nation contrast markedly,” they write in the introduction to 10 essays that take readers from early organized hockey in Quebec through to representations of the sport in literature, theater, and the long-running TV show Lance et compte. It is evident that for every Maurice “The Rocket” Richard, who is “a rare Canada-wide reference point,” there’s a whole Quebecois subtext that fans elsewhere might miss: in Quebec, statistics such as the ratio of anglophones to francophones on the Canadiens or the Quebec Nordiques (when the team existed) were carefully tracked, and in the early 1980s, the French-language newspapers started calling the anglo-heavy Canadiens “Les Maroons,” in reference to “the Canadiens’ erstwhile anglophone rivals from 1924 to 1938.” But despite such insights into the political climate, the book is too narrowly focused to appeal to many readers beyond serious, erudite hockey fans. (Aug.)