Tag Archives: hockey

Canada’s 2011 Photo of the Year

Sydney Crosby – down and out.

The injury to Sid the Kid was international hockey news. His anticipated return to competition was the topic of speculation for months through 2011 in coffee shops from Cole Harbour to Trail. This particular photo of the young superstar on his knees captures both the individual’s hurt and pain, and the sorry state of the NHL with its inability to deal properly with head blows.   2011 was the year of the concussion-discussion – and Sidney was at the centre of it all.

Honourable mentions for Canada’s photo of the year include the victorious smile of Prime Minister Stephen Harper on election night; the cane-waving of campaigner Jack Layton; and the hockey rioters in Vancouver after the seventh game of the Stanley Cup Finals. 

Hockey’s Back!

The maple leaves are changing to a reddish-brown and there is a biting crispness in the morning air.  This can only mean one thing in Canada:  the puck is about to be dropped!  To help us focus on rinks, sweat and sticks, here is a dozen unforgettable quotes on the greatest game on ice.

  • He shoots! He scores! – Foster Hewitt
  • Skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been. – Wayne Gretzky
  • But I smile at the small-town myth for the harmless, happy days it gave me, and God knows how many tens of thousands of others. Hockey, for most of us, was the first time – and so often the only time – we ever felt we truly mattered. – Ken Dryden
  • Throughout the years ahead, just as in the past, NHL hockey will remain one of the most exciting team games, an awesome exhibition of strength, speed, endurance and fitness wherever it is played. – Brian McFarlane
  • There is only one way a boy can be sure to learn to play hockey – on the pond, on the creek, on a flooded lot. The foundation of hockey isn’t really hockey at all. It’s shinny, a wild melee of kids batting a puck around, with no rules, no organization – nothing but individual effort to grab and hold the puck. – Lester Patrick
  • I’ve always felt hockey was like a disease. You can’t really shake it. – Ken Wregget
  • Hockey is like a religion in Montreal. You’re either a saint or a sinner; there’s no in-between. – Patrick Roy
  • Baseball can have its perfect dimensions, its undeniable drama, but hockey, for all its wrongs, still has the potential to deliver a momentary, flashing magic that is found in no other game we play. – Roy MacGregor
  • Hockey is a man’s game. The team with the most real men wins. – Brian Burke
  • You can’t play hockey if you’re nice. – Steve Ludzik
  • You have to know what pro hockey is all about. You have to live and breathe and sleep it. You have to lose a few teeth and take some shots to the face. It’s not a pretty thing. – Ted Nolan
  • We know that hockey is where we live, where we can best meet and overcome pain and wrong and death. Life is just a place where we spend time between games. – Fred Shero

(ed. – This collection of hockey quotes first appeared in By George Journal in 2010 – https://www.bygeorgejournal.ca/?p=552 )

Our “Cherry Bombs” were popular

In a series of tweets last week, the By George Journal highlighted the colourful life of sports commentator Don Cherry. Taken largely from the Toronto Star news expose “The wonderful, unlivable life of Don Cherry” written by Vinay Menon, we offered many quotes and tidbits of information about the man who has become a Canadian icon.

Our Don Cherry Twitter series and our previous blog article, posted on the eve of the Stanley Cup finals, got By George Journal featured in The Fan Zoo Hockey Daily last week.

Here are those quotes and facts, first issued on the ByGeorgeJournal Twitter channel:


  • “I mean everything I say.” – #DonCherry
  • “They (CBC) really did not like me. But I think I became so popular they had no choice.”
  • “Television is a jungle… is a tough business… Everybody hopes you fail.”
  • “I’m a construction worker. I’m not a performer.” ~ on his approach to TV broadcast
  •  “Once you start thinking you’re a big star & stuff like that, then u lose something.” ~ on his approach to TV
  • “Better suits.” ~ on the only change since becoming a celebrity sports commentator
  • “Cherry occupies a rarefied place in the pantheon of Canadian celebrity.” – TorStar reporter Vinay Menon
  • “It really toughens you. Nothing can hurt you after that.” – #DonCherry on 16 yrs in minor #hockey
  •  “I grew up with a lot of Scots and Irish who were construction workers. I picked up a lot of their expressions.”
  • “I honest to God still think of myself as a 32-year-old hockey player who worked on construction in the summer.”
  • #DonCherry priorities: “As long as I can get home at night and have my three or four beers and my steamer (sauna).”
  • Dghtr Cindy on her Father: “I haven’t seen him change 1 iota. Sometimes people mellow w age, but that doesn’t apply to D.C.”
  • The great Bobby Orr on #DonCherry: ““He’s the most consistent man I know.”
  • Brian Williams on #DonCherry: “Don is about integrity & values. He believes if u do something, u do it for the proper reasons…”
  • Believe it? #DonCherry reads books on Lawrence of Arabia, Sir Francis Drake, Lord Nelson & writings of Horatio Alger & Miguel de Cervantes.
  • Ron MacLean: #DonCherry “is an essayist who is trying to combine a little bit of journalism, a little bit of philosophy & theology.”
  • Ron MacLean: #DonCherry “is trying to convince the world of the need for honour….”
  • “…in our world, it’s very easy 2 be isolated from a deeper conversation about those kinds of lessons.” MacLean on #DonCherry
  • “The game has lost a lot of honour. There’s no doubt they skate faster and they’re bigger…”
  • “…but they don’t respect one another like they used to and I don’t think the intensity is there.” – #DonCherry #quotes #hockey #hnic #nhl

Join us on Twitter for topical information and bons mots:


The drop of the puck for the Cup

Across our great Canada, we all have it – HOCKEY FEVER!

And to celebrate the dropping of the puck for the first game of the Stanley Cup Finals, By George Journal is posting a few gems relating to this grand game and classic championship series.

#1 – An excellent expose of Don Cherry

Here is a must read by Vinay Menon of the Toronto Star:  “The wonderful, unlivable life of Don Cherry”


(ed. – By George will be tweeting “Cherry Bombs” thru the next few days – nobody can call ‘em like Grapes!)

# 2- One of our favourite hockey quotes of all-time is the gem from Flyers coach Fred Shero.

“We know that hockey is where we live, where we can best meet and overcome pain and wrong and death. Life is just a place where we spend time between games.”

#3 – Here are 10 Stanley Cup quotes to whet your appetite.

  • You know, I’ve held women and babies and jewels and money, but nothing will ever feel as good as holding that Cup. – Wayne Gretzky
  • Nothing has ever matched that thrill! – Gump Worsley
  • It was crazy. At the moment it’s just like, ‘We won the Stanley Cup’ and that’s all you’re thinking about. To play this game, this is the only thing I want to do in the world and be a part of moments like this. – Patrick Kane
  • We’re brothers for life now. We’re champions. We’re champions for life. This is the pinnacle of our sport, and we won it, and I can’t tell you how I feel. – Kris Vertseeg
  • A lot can happen during a season. You have to have an awful lot go right to win a Stanley Cup. – Bob Clarke
  • Win today and we walk together forever. – Philadelphia Flyers Coach Fred Shero
  • This dream is gonna last forever. Don’t you dare wake me up! – Jim Paek
  • Nobody’s a natural. You work hard to get good and then work to get better. It’s hard to stay on top. – Paul Coffey
  • It is a feeling I cannot explain, like seeing the sun coming up in the morning…it’s wonderful. – Pavel Datsyuk
  • I’ve seen it in the Hall of Fame in Toronto. I have stayed away from it… the day that I even get a picture or touch it will be the day that I’ve earned it. – Claude Julien


Don Cherry and Coach’s Corner – warping our national identity?!

This is from the department of “Only in Canuckistan.”  Straight in from left field, we have two aspiring PhDs claiming that Don Cherry is warping Canadians’ minds and altering our national identity.

In their review of Hockey Night in Canada’s Coach’s Corner, the brains of University of Western Ontario observe that Cherry goes unchallenged when making his statements about Canada’s military. By presenting “an understanding of Canadian identity through the lens of hockey analysis,” Cherry is promoting a “tougher”, right-of-centre national identity – one that doesn’t reflect our diverse country.

Co-author John Nater states: “His view of Canadian identity would appear to be a limited one, focused very much on traditional Canadian immigration from western Europe and the United Kingdom. The concern is it does exclude a large segment of the population . . . from non-traditional ethnicities. He is entitled to represent these views and put out his understanding of (national) identity, but the challenge with his position is they are not challenged. He is presented as a hockey commentator and there’s no challenge function to what he says on non-hockey related issues.”

The authors of the study have gone so far as to suggest that the popularity of Cherry may be indicative of a shift in the Canadian politics. Nater observes: “This very much reflects a lot of the things that are happening politically. You look at Toronto (with the election of Mayor Rob Ford), you look at nationally now, it seems to be a shift to more of a small-c conservative point of view. I think Cherry reflects that — going to traditional values, the support for the Canadian Forces, the support for a strong questioning of patriotism or one’s love of country.  It’s very much a strong view that Canadian identity rests on a tough image, a support for the troops and (goes) back to an older era — an idealized era — that looks at how you see Canada being a traditional British Anglo-Saxon country.”

Here are some of the findings from the study that looked at every Coach’s Corner segment from the 2009-10 NHL season:

  • On a consistent basis, Don Cherry is almost as likely to talk about the military as he is to talk about hockey itself.
  • The words “troops,” “battle” and “war” appeared nearly as frequently as references to hockey teams. “Leafs” was mentioned 11 times; “troops” 12 times; the “Princess Pats” (Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry) 9 times.
  • The most mentioned word, with 47 references, was “fight,” “fights” or “fighting.”

Seriously, only in Canuckistan would we be criticizing someone who honours and is vocal about his support of our troops…. Don Cherry’s Coach’s Corner is very popular, perhaps iconic in our country. Canadians love of Grape’s frankness speaks for itself. 

The PhDs’ work is entitled The Wrath of Grapes: Don Cherry and the Militarization of Hockey. Read more about this study here [SOURCE]:


Best re-posts of 2009 – Certainly, our #1 is on Hockey

Hockey is the glue that binds our Nation


In order to be a dynamic, sustainable national entity, a country’s people must have shared values, perspectives, and experiences. A country’s peoples must know and understand certain common things – whether they be moments in time, or iconic images that stir a common passion. In Canada our sense of national identity has become blurred through the past two to three decades largely because we are loosing our national common identifiers. And we are losing our sense of being because we no longer collectively share special moments or recognize and appreciate meaningful symbols.

So, one needs to ask “What do we have in Canada to unite us? What will provide that sense of nationalism that can pull us together and have us share moments in time – that can become our peoples’ common memories and source of pride?”

We offer that our national game of hockey is the glue that binds our nation.

Hockey is a shared experience that transcends pucks and ice surfaces.  Hockey envelops everything from pre-dawn breakfasts and cold car rides to the smell of locker rooms and those smiles and arena exchanges with your children. There are tens of thousands of Canadian children who love the game and dream of being the next Gretzky or Crosby. There is a legend of parents who come together to converse and share moments in the rinks and the parking lots. And there is Saturday night. Imagine how many households have the HNIC ritual of cheering the opening face-off and needing to hear Don Cherry bark through another Coach’s Corner. 

Hockey is the reference point for Canada. Quite simply, it is what defines us.

Hockey defines us in a way that other things do not – or can no longer. For example, Canada is beyond being defined by its two founding Nations.  This has given way to multiculturalism and, today, we have our three most populous urban centres as, literally, cultural mosaics. What of bilingualism? A native heritage? Our historic memberships in the commonwealth or NATO? None of these strike a resounding chord with our current society.

Canadians no longer rally around historic icons like our founding father Sir John A, the Mounties, the mighty moose or maple syrup? Many Canadians have never seen a canoe or an inukshuk – so these symbols simply cannot provide a common reference point.  Perhaps there is a case for the maple leaf icon and our ensign – but Canadians differ greatly on what our red-and-white flag represents and the maple leaf is less a shared symbol of national passion than it is a default icon representing the notion of our country.

So, the contention is hockey is the glue that binds…. and in the months ahead the By George Journal will celebrate hockey and explore the idea of this glorious game is “the defining element” of Canada – our peoples’ source of “being Canadian.”

(ed. – This is a repost, picked as one of our favourite three posts of 2009, taken from the earlier posts on the By George Journal. We have tagged “ hockey” and you can read much more on this glorious sport in By George. ) 

Scoring with a hockey musical theme song!


Regular readers of this Journal will know just how enraptured we are about Canada’s game of hockey. So, as another season begins, let’s salute this national pastime with the latest, great song about our game!


YES, THIS IS A GREAT SONG! Click here to view a special live performance of Hockey (the Greatest Game) at the TIFF:



Here’s the official film trailer for Score: A Hockey Musical:



The movie’s website:



Readings on Canada’s Game


The Walrus feature article this month is a review of the current state of hockey in Canada. David MacFarlane and Michael Adams take a look at how Americans are hijacking our game. It’s an up-dated review of an old lament as MacFarlane travels to arenas in Nashville, Florida and Phoenix.   




What makes this article noteworthy is the public opinion polling that accompanied the authors’ reflections. Three-quarters of Canadians (76%) believe that hockey is a key part of what it means to be Canadian. Now, having said that, here are a few findings that challenge our view that hockey signifies Canada’s heart and soul.

  • One in two Canadians (54%) say hockey should remain Canada’s national sport.
  • Only 36% of Canadians say hockey is their favourite sport (football comes second at 10%).
  • Only 21% of Canadians say they love hockey. 31% of Canadian men say they love it, while only 12% of women say they love the sport.
  • Only 38% of Canadians think fighting is an acceptable part of hockey. 42% of all Canadians like what Don Cherry has to say about the game – and this admiration rises to 60% amongst huge hockey fans.     

On the same subject, there is a recently published book from McGill-Queen’s Universities Press called Canada’s game – Hockey and Identity. This 2009 collection of learned essays focuses on the game of hockey and its impact on the psyche of Canadians. 


In one essay, Bruce Kidd’s and John Macfarlane’s 1972 work “The Death of Hockey” was quoted:

     … not very many Canadians play the game we call our national sport. Despite the soaring teenage registration of the CAHA there are just two kinds of hockey in this country: the hockey we play for a brief few years during adolescence, and the hockey a few hundred professionals provide as a televised spectacle. Left out are hundreds of thousands of Canadians who ski and curl, play golf and tennis, who love hockey as much they did when they were kids but who have been relegated to the sidelinbes as spectators. We play hockey to win, we play hockey to make money, but we have forgotten what it is to play hockey for fun. That, more than anything else, signals the death of hockey.


BTW – the subtitle for “The Death of Hockey” is  “Hockey no longer a dream of the Canadian Everyman”


The Moffatt hockey stick tests out at 170 years old


Earlier this year, we were fascinated with the story of “the oldest hockey stick from the 1850’s” being sold for $2.2 million on e-Bay.




Well now there’s another claim of a stick dating to the early 1800’s. Here’s the latest:


     “The dendrochronological data fit well with the archival details suggesting the stick was originally made for W.M. ‘Dilly’ Moffatt sometime in the 1830s. This would suggest that this is the oldest ‘hockey’ stick known to exist in Canada.”


     A team of Laroque’s researchers from the Mount Allison dendrochronology lab spent a week searching through woodlots near Pottle Lake for trees old enough to compare their growth rings from the early 1800s with the 43-year record of rings preserved in the Moffatt Stick.


     “We were initially worried that we wouldn’t be able to find a tree 200 years old, because in this area forestry has been going on for 400 years,” said Laroque, who will also present the findings at a national conference of geographers in June. “Most trees you see in Atlantic Canada are 100 years at best.”


     But just a short distance from Pottle Lake, they found four sugar maples old enough to have been living during those telltale decades, Laroque said.


Read the whole of the story here:



“Our Game” is Our Country’s Passion


From reports the whole of the Canuck nation watched spell-bound as our Canadian heroes battled victoriously for the gold medal of hockey! Canwest News writes:


     More than 22 million Canadians were glued to the tube when Canada’s Sidney Crosby scored his Olympic gold medal-winning goal against the United States on the final day of the Vancouver Winter Olympics.

      To put that into perspective, that’s pretty much the number of people who lived in Canada in 1972, when Paul Henderson scored the game and series-winner in the epic Canada-Russia showdown. Guess we like our hockey, eh?

      On Friday, the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement confirmed 16,674,000 people watched the Olympic men’s hockey final and when the game went into overtime and Crosby hollered “Iggy” and then flicked Jarome Iginla’s pass past a startled Ryan Miller in the U.S. goal, that audience had peaked to 22 million.


Wow! In a nation of 34 million, there were 22 million from coast to coast cheering on Sid the Kid’s feat of timeless glory! The news article goes on to quote a sociologist as saying that in international matches involving our boys on blades, hockey is “Canada’s flag-bearer sport.”  View the full articles here:



So, when we consider what it is that unifies and provides a sense of belonging for Canadians, can anyone argue with this Journal’s contention now that hockey is the glue that binds our country!




World’s oldest hockey stick sold for $2.2 million


Here’s an update on our January post about the world’s oldest hockey stick. Canadian Press reports:


     For the modest sum of $2.2 million, what’s believed to be the oldest hockey stick in existence is now the property of an anonymous Canadian buyer.  And despite spending all that money on what has the potential to be a great conversation piece, they’ve agreed to put the stick, believed to have been carved between 1852 and 1856, on display in the Hockey Hall of Fame.


     Gord Sharpe, the stick’s previous owner, was relieved to learn the buyer is Canadian. It’s a family heirloom that’s been in his possession since he was nine.


     There were 26 bids submitted from around the world and inquiries were fielded from places including Dubai, Australia and Germany. There were more than 20,600 visits to Ebay from people interested in learning about and perhaps bidding on the stick.


     “When the bid came in, I didn’t know if it was from a Canadian,” Sharpe said.  “I feel a lot better now that I know it was purchased by a Canadian.”


     Sharpe’s $2.2 million will go to fanscharity.com and its World Charity Award program, both run by Sharpe with the goal of promoting the importance of charities and awareness of charities among children.


For more about the oldest hockey stick in history, go to:



On Canada’s latest “Greatest Hockey Moment”


Sidney Crosby’s overtime goal will be etched in the memory of every Canadian who watched that gold medal performance. Like the Canada-Soviet ’72 series and Paul Henderson’s heroics was for generations of Canucks, the Crosby goal will be the defining moment of our country’s game for younger generations. 


It was a glorious goal. That goal will live on in Olympic lore, in Canadian hockey history – in infamy.


It is Canada’s latest, greatest moment!


Here are some memorable comments and reactions from Sid the Kid’s OT winner: 

  • I didn’t see it go in, I just heard everyone scream. Every kid dreams of this opportunity — it could’ve been anybody else. – Sidney Crosby
  • We’d been talking together all tournament as a line – and communicating with each other. He (Crosby) was yelling for it – was yelling pretty urgently. There are different pitches of yells; this was loud. – Jarome Iginla
  • That’s Sid for you.  There’s a reason he’s the best player in the world. He always shows up in those big moments and scores those big goals. – Ryan Getzlaf.
  • There’s nothing that Kid can’t do, or hasn’t done already. – Jonathan Toews
  • Guys like that find a way. – Chris Pronger
  • I’ve always been proud to be a Canadian. It doesn’t have to mean going to an Olympics. You could see the passion tonight, the passion for hockey, but also everything in general. I’m proud to represent that. – Sidney Crosby
  • That’s a roller coaster ride to get scored on with 20 or so seconds left. Then to win it in overtime, and that’s really what you dream of, to win it in overtime. We had the right guy scoring the goal. – Dan Boyle
  • I feel like shit. – U.S. goaltender Ryan Miller.
  • It’s so fitting. It’s funny. There’s so much pressure on him. I mean, we win a semifinal game and we’re into the finals and all people are asking is: ‘But what about Sid? What about Sid?’ You know, he’s playing well. He’s playing hard. He’s getting lots of chances. They’re always trying to shut him down. That’s the first guy they think about. And he just keeps going. He just keeps playing hard. He just keeps battling. He had a great tournament and people aren’t satisfied unless he gets two or three goals a game. And it never fazes him. It’s all about the team and he just goes about his way. It is awesome to see him finish it. – Jarome Iginla
  • I just keep going back to: He’s (Crosby) such a young person. And to have the weight of the country on his shoulders, and it’s not just necessarily good enough for him to win, he’s got to lead the team in scoring. That’s a lot to put on a young player. So I thought he had a good tournament. I thought he conducted himself well under immense pressure. I think he did fantastic. – Steve Yzerman
  • It’s an incredible relief.  In October 2008 we became a staff and began our preparations. And we’ve been thinking about this day and dreaming about it daily for 18 months or whatever it’s been. It’s an incredible relief when our goal was just to win. Regardless of how well we played, we had to win. – Steve Yzerman
  • This game showed all the good there is in hockey. The heart and determination everybody plays with; the battle level, the character of the athletes. It’s a pretty special sport. It was a fun game to be a part of. Wish I could be on the other end of it. – Jamie Langenbrunner
  • The nation of 34 million fanatics is on top of the hockey world today thanks to Crosby’s magic, and all is well in the Great White North. – Wall Street Journal


The world’s oldest hockey stick up for auction next month


I saw this on the Canwest newswire this morning: 


A curved piece of wood controversially billed as “the world’s oldest hockey stick” — and reputedly appraised at $4-million–is to be auctioned in Vancouver next month during the Winter Olympics.


The object known as the “Rutherford Stick” has been displayed at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto and was offered at auction two other times in the past decade but didn’t sell. Said to be at least 150 years old, it drew a top bid of $2.2-million on eBay in December 2006. But the hickory-wood relic — owned by Cobourg, Ont., resident Gordon Sharpe, who inherited the stick from a great-uncle and claims it was hand-carved by a family ancestor in the 1850s — did not exchange hands at the time, nor during a previous auction in 2001.


Now, the stick touted as “the single most important piece of hockey memorabilia in existence” will be available for viewing before being sold by the online auction firm vipthrills.com.


Ken Dryden’s masterpiece: “The Game”



Over the holidays I had the pleasure of re-reading one of the very best books ever written about the game of hockey – The Game, written back in 1983 by the storied Montreal Canadian’s goaltender Ken Dryden. Now the subtitle to this book is A Thoughtful and Provocative Look at a Life in Hockey – and, I must say that page after page, with each commentary and detailed description, this book proves to be both insightful and informative!


It is a must-read for any avid hockey fan and a book I’d recommend to anyone trying to grasp the significance of this sport to the boys and men (and many girls and women!) of this country.


So, in recommending this book, I’ll provide one snippet of insight imparted by Ken Dryden. Here is the goalie great’s explanation of how hockey is a transition game, not a possession game.


Possession was what they [the Russians in 1972] were supposed to be about: passing, team play, always search for the open man, regrouping to start again if their possession seemed threatened. But a puck cannot be physically carried up the ice like a football; and a hockey player is not protected from physical battering as a basketball player is. He can be overpowered, the puck can be wrested from his stick by one or two or more opponents, with little recourse except to pass it on to someone else soon harassed the same way. A possession game is hyperbole. The puck changes teams more than 6 times a minute, more than 120 times a period, more than 400 times a game, and little can be done to prevent it. And when it is not changing possession, the puck is often out of possession, fought after, in no one’s control. It is sustained possession only on power plays. There is possession involving several seconds at other times only when a team regroups to its own zone to set up a play. If possession is team style, it will be frustrated. Worse, if it is attempted, it will make a game cautious and predictable.


Instead, hockey is a transition game, offense to defense, defense to offense, one team to another. Hundreds of tiny fragments of action, some leading somewhere, most going nowhere. Only one thing is clear. A fragmented game must be played in fragments. Grand designs do not work. Offenses regrouping, setting up, meet defenses which have done the same, and lose. But before offense turns to defense, or defense to offense, there is a moment of disequilibrium when a defense is vulnerable, when a game’s sudden, unexpected swings can be turned to advantage. It is what you do at this moment, when possession changes, that makes the difference. How fast you can set up. How fast you strike. What instant patterns you can create. How you can turn simple advantage into something permanent…


The Game – a book that screams to be read and re-read every few years! 



Hockey is Canada’s game


In their best-selling book Home Game, writer Roy MacGregor and goaltender great Ken Dryden comment on our quintessentially Canadian game. It’s a superb summary of what is central in our Nation’s pysche! 


Hockey is Canada’s game. It may also be Canada’s national theatre. On its frozen stage, each night the stuff of life is played out: ambition, hope, pride, fear, love and friendship, the fight for honour for city, team, each other, and themselves. The puck flips one way, bounces another, and the players set out to control and direct it. It takes them where they never planned to go. It tests them. And in struggling to get it back, with the millions who watch it in the arena or by television, the players find out who they really are. Like the bear pits in Shakespeare’s time, we attend hockey games as our national theatre. It is a place where the monumental themes of Canadian life are played out – English and French, East and West, Canada and the U.S., Canada and the world, the timeless tensions of commerce and culture, our struggle to survive and civilize winter.