49 Degrees: Canadian Pagan Perspectives

Canadian Paganism has a style all its own. Have a look at events, issues, celebrations, people, trends and events north of the border from the eyes of a Canadian Wiccan and Witch.

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Canadian Olympic Hockey and Feminism

Canadians Take the Gold (Photo courtesy of The Guardian) 

Okay, so this is completely off the topic from what I usually post in this blog, but I am a proud Canadian, and like all Canadians, I watch when our team is at the gold medal hockey final.  It's kind of like Americans and the Superbowl.  I think it's a Canadian law or something.

Now, I admit that for a good deal of the game I was shaking my head in dismay.  The Americans played a much better game than we did for most of it.  They were much more aggressive and energetic and were just overall handling the puck better.  The Americans almost won the game when, with a minute and fifteen seconds left, Canada pulled the goalie for an extra attacker, and an inexperienced linesman interfered with one of her teammates, freeing up an American shot on goal into an empty net.  Perhaps it was an example of the manifestation of collective Will as thirty percent of Canada's population screamed, "No no NO!" and miraculously, the puck bounced off the post and the goal was averted.  But our ladies tied it up in the last five minutes, and then stole the gold in sudden death overtime!  I would hardly be considered a hockey expert, but I am Canadian, and so you learn about it whether you want to or not, and overall, this was one of the most exciting and tense games I've ever watched.  Here's the link if you want to see it.

What it has to do with my blog is a) I'm Canadian, and b) this is the first time I've seen support for women's hockey that in any way has compared to support for men's hockey.  Picture, if you will, America going as crazy for women's football (Yes, I know baseball is the American national sport, but you guys just don't seem to get as excited about it as you do about football.)  I was late to the bookstore I do readings at because I couldn't leave the sudden death overtime until I knew who won, and the owner of the bookstore just jumped up when I came in to tell her that to demand the score.  Half an hour after the game, my man, who came downtown with me, informed me that there was a guy riding up and down the major throughway on a bicycle with a Canadian flag waving from a hockey stick.  Nobody had to be told what it meant, and the responding honking sounded like a wedding.  Sports bars across the country had hockey parties.  And according to our national network CBC, that game was the most streamed sports event in their history.

The point is, hockey is our sport, and we're finally taking the women as seriously as we do the men.  Even the sports broadcasters were in the right spirit, whether you were watching the Canadian or American broadcasts; delivering scathing criticism and serious commentary in turns.  It makes me happy to know that.  In this time when it seems like the politicians of our respective nations are doing their level best to peel back any progress made in women's rights over the past thirty years, the people have obviously absorbed a more egalitarian view.  There might still be a ways to go, but knowing that gives me hope and makes me proud.

Many of the leaders of the team are retiring this year, after as many as five Olympic games.  That's twenty years of hockey!  A great career for anyone.  At the beginning of the year there was some talk of taking women's hockey out of the Olympics due to lack of competition.  I doubt anyone's saying that now!  And with veteran Hayley Wickenheiser's election to the International Olympic Athlete's Commission, I'm sure the future of women's hockey is safe for now.  Vive le sport!

Canada Celebrates

Last modified on
Sable Aradia (Diane Morrison) has been a traditional witch most of her life, and she is a licensed Wiccan minister and a Third Degree initiate in the Star Sapphire and Pagans for Peace traditions. Author of "The Witch's Eight Paths of Power" (Red Wheel/Weiser 2014) and contributor to "Pagan Consent Culture" and "The Pagan Leadership Anthology," she also writes "Between the Shadows" at Patheos' Pagan channel and contributes to Gods & Radicals. Sable is just breaking out as a speculative fiction writer under her legal name, and a new serial, the Wyrd West Chronicles, will be released on the Spring Equinox this year. Like most writers, she does a lot of other things to help pay the bills, including music, Etsy crafts, and working part time at a bookstore. She lives in Vernon, BC, Canada with her two life partners and her furbabies in a cabin on the edge of the woods.


  • Greybeard
    Greybeard Friday, 21 February 2014

    Congratulations to the Canadians on the victory.

    The big problem I have with Hockey is that so many games and championships are decided by a so-called "shoot out." That pretty much negates all the on-ice play and decides the "winner" by a crap shoot. Whether its the US vs Russia men's game or the Canada vs. US women's game, the end sucks. Why not play an extra overtime period until one team is ahead? Why not at least play a "sudden death" match where the whole team plays until the first team scores. It insults all the players on both teams. A crap shoot is a really stupid way to decide a championship.

  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia Friday, 21 February 2014

    I agree! Fortunately that wasn't the case here. Also fortunately, the Stanley Cup is not resolved that way; it's overtime periods until somebody wins. I once watched a Stanley Cup playoff game that was almost two complete games played back-to-back by the time it was done. I must concur that I feel faintly cheated when it's decided by shoot-out too. Thanks for a great comment! And congrats to the Americans for their silver medal and a really fantastic game!

    And thanks for tuning in to Pagan Sports Talk this week! This is Sable Aradia, signing off!;)

  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor Friday, 21 February 2014

    Yes, congratulations indeed. I was a Landed Immigrant in Canada from 1971-1973. I was a company member with the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario. (It was also during that time that I developed a lifelong admiration for Canadian women.) I will never forget that Student Matinee when William Hutt, in character as King Lear, walked out onstage and loudly proclaimed to one and all, "We just beat the Russians in hockey!" The house came down; the roar was so tremendous that actors in the greenroom thought the balcony had collapsed. Some said later that it was unprofessional of Bill to break character that way, but he sure knew his audience. I think the Bard would have approved his success at crowd pleasing.

  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia Saturday, 22 February 2014

    That strikes me as a uniquely, and perhaps iconic, Canadian story. Thanks so much for sharing it!

  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia Sunday, 23 February 2014

    And the boys did us proud too!

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