Develop “physical culture” instead of hockey

The person talking to you here is your average hockey fan. And my three sons played with enthusiasm – and with much greater success than their father. Whatever bad things may be said about the ‘arena’ atmosphere, it is a great team sport.

Posted at 5:00 am

But if strong government intervention is needed, this is not to straighten out our national sport. It is to develop a culture of physical activity in general.

I would go so far as to say that the political focus on hockey is part of the problem. I insist it’s a sport I love, but was soon abandoned by fans after adolescence.

Keep in mind that the Prime Minister of Quebec himself announced the creation of a commission on the future of hockey in Quebec, as if the crisis required state intervention.

The committee, made up of several stars from the hockey world, has just submitted its report. It is full of reasonable results and recommendations – we specialize in very young children, there is a lack of tech support, arenas and structures for girls, it is too expensive, we do not focus enough on fun, etc.

But what really motivated François Legault to get involved was the persistent weakness of the Quebec elite in professional hockey. While the Finns, Swedes, and others are advancing, the Quebecers are retreating.

What annoys him is the dilution of the national symbol.

This is undoubtedly food for thought and reform for hockey board. And even for the Minister of Education and responsible for sports, Isabelle Charest.

But what should mobilize government, health and education first, is not the decline of hockey. It is generally a sedentary lifestyle.

It is remarkable to see the attention that Denise’s report has received, compared to the attention devoted to the Minister’s 2020 report himself, entitled “For Physically Active Quebecers”. This document reviewed the research on “healthy lifestyles” and made a series of recommendations for moving people, as recommended by the World Health Organization – and thousands of studies. All this to reduce the incidence of disease, improve mental health, and reduce the incidence of disease.

You’ll tell me, the report that came out in the year of the pandemic isn’t really fortunate. Indeed.

However, what is contained in this document is more urgent for communication and implementation. But there were no stars as spokespersons…

“No sport has received as much attention from the Quebec government as ice hockey,” said Dennis’ report last Thursday. This is the result of a very special context, meaning in particular the number of followers and the position that the sport occupies in the media and culture of Quebec. »

We couldn’t say it better.

It is precisely for this reason that we must tirelessly draw attention to the general importance of physical activity and the development of a culture of participation in sport.

There is no contradiction between developing elite hockey, other elite sports, and promoting physical activity in general, you might say.

No doubt.

But resources aren’t unlimited, let’s ask ourselves the question: Should we invest hundreds of millions to build yards (Quebec has 395, compared to 450 in Alberta, which has 45% less population), or gyms? arcades? Cross country ski slopes? For hockey professional advisors, or physical education teachers?

Yes, I also like both. But we won’t do both. Et je sais qu’un nouvel aréna financé par un program « national » (car il est suggéré de « hisser le hockey au niveau de sport national du Québec ») est plus vendeur qu’une piste d’athlétisme et de l’équipement pour schools.

Dennis’ report, taking great care not to harm our budding “pro” model of hockey too much, advocates a convergence of school and hockey. Nothing drastic, but that’s it. And the better the better if hockey sticks end up working with the towns that run the yards.

Besides, there is a lot to do to combat sedentary lifestyles, and very little political energy.

This is the puzzling contradiction. Lots of hype for our beloved national spectator sport. So a little determination to fight a sedentary lifestyle. We have a lot of hockey stars to spread the good news about their sport – ours.

We miss Pierre Lavoie.

If public authorities at the highest level are to get involved in a “mathematical problem”, it seems to me that we have to start by getting people to walk, run, and roll as often as possible, from CPE to CHSLD.

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