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From the archives

Paper Rout

Postmedia in the gutter

Past Trauma

Richard Wagamese and an Indigenous literary resurgence

Family Pride

Profiles in gay life

Stephen Smith

Stephen Smith is the author of Puckstruck: Distracted, Delighted and Distressed by Canada’s Hockey Obsession. He shoots left.

Articles by
Stephen Smith

The Gloves Are Off

Where men enforced do speak December 2021
Why did a couple of Zacks feel the need to shed their gloves this October in Edmonton to fling fists at each other’s heads? Could be, I guess, that Zack Kassian, a winger for the Oilers, disparaged Zack MacEwen’s manhood, mother, or mien. It was the NHL’s pre-season still, so maybe MacEwen, then a Vancouver…

Dropping the Puck

Can hockey mount a comeback? December 2019
In case you hadn’t heard, hockey is failing fast, bound for oblivion. But then again, wasn’t it always? Ask any old pro a couple of years beyond his prime, and he’ll tell you straight up: the game today isn’t what it was when he was young and chasing pucks. The Hall of Fame defenceman Eddie Shore had been retired for almost a decade in 1949 when he bewailed the players who’d succeeded his generation of…

Enough Heat to Melt the Ice

A new generation of novels about hockey finds the action away from the rink December 2018
I tend to talk on the ice. I’m speaking here not of the regular chorus of swearing and middle-aged male complaint that is the usual soundtrack of your typical Friday morning pick-up hockey game—this has more to do with narrative. As the guys I play with will testify, if I’m not the one who’s going to score a…

Bigger Than the Team

A dad’s-eye view of the NHL’s most polarizing figure October 2017
If you’re someone who’s mothered a famous hockey player, chances are that you have not subsequently gone out and written a book about it. Is this because your parental pride is more private than, say, a father’s, your fulfillment so much the quieter? Or because you don’t feel the same urgent need to explain your…

Phantom of the Rink

Arena architecture shaped hockey, but will the new generation of entertainment multiplexes diminish the game? October 2016
Hard to say just when the ghosts got into the Montreal Forum. We know that they were definitely ensconced in the rafters of that bygone rink by 1989, if only because the upstart Calgary Flames, in town that spring to challenge the Canadiens for the Stanley Cup, are on the record talking about having to conquer…