Quebec Studies

Papas de la patinoire: Hockey Dads and Responsible Family Manhood in Twentieth-Century Québec1

Quebec Studies (2020), 69, (1), 131–154.

Abstract

Recent research on the history of fatherhood shows how paternal roles were shifting in the twentieth century, with fathers becoming less distant and authoritarian and more involved in their children’s education and leisure pursuits. The place of sport in this transformation merits serious examination especially – in a Québec context – where hockey is concerned. There is little Québec literature on the Hockey Dad, that iconic figure, which in English Canada is readily associated with the much-admired Walter Gretzky. Yet the Québécois versions of this narrative date back to the interwar years and can be gleaned from the published life writing of celebrated athletes such as Maurice Richard, Jean Béliveau, Bernard Geoffrion, and others. This article analyzes a modest collection of hockey-themed memoirs and autobiographies to do three things. First, it argues that the figure of the Québec Hockey Dad – or papa de la patinoire, to coin a phrase – was most often constructed in such a way as to embody the most honored and respected masculine qualities associated with this particular time, place, and culture. Second, it presents a close, against-the-grain reading of these same sources, showing how variations from the common central narrative, as well as certain silences within it, are just as important and revealing as the conventional script. Third, it introduces some more recent narratives, written by and about hockey players born after 1960, to further unsettle and problematize the comfortable, mid-century narrative of the responsible family man as Hockey Dad.

Access Token
£25.00

Works cited

Abdou, Angie. 2018. Home Ice: Reflections of a Reluctant Hockey Mom. Toronto: ECW Press. Google Scholar

Bélanger, Anouk. 2007. “The Last Game? Hockey and the Experience of Masculinity in Quebec.” In Sport and Gender in Canada, edited by Kevin Young and Philip White, 293–309. Don Mills: Oxford University Press. Google Scholar

Béliveau, Jean, Chyrstian Goyens, and Allan Turowetz. 1994. My Life in Hockey. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart. Google Scholar

Blake, Jason. 2010. Canadian Hockey Literature: A Thematic Study. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Google Scholar

Brodeur, Martin, and Damien Cox, with photographs by Denis Brodeur. 2006. Beyond the Crease. Mississauga: Wiley. Google Scholar

Brown, William. 2002. Doug: The Doug Harvey Story. Montréal: Véhicule Press. Google Scholar

Burns, Sarah, Lindsay Eberhardt, and Jennifer L. Merolla. 2013. “What Is the Difference Between a Hockey Mom and a Pit Bull? Presentations of Palin and Gender Stereotypes in the 2008 Presidential Election.” Political Research Quarterly 66 (3): 687–701. Google Scholar

Coakley, Jay. 2009. “The Good Father: Parental Expectations and Youth Sports.” In Fathering Through Sport and Leisure, edited by Tess Kay, 40–50. New York: Routledge. Google Scholar

Coltrane, Scott. 1996. Family Man: Fatherhood, Housework and Gender Equity. New York: Oxford University Press. Google Scholar

Connell, R.W. 1990. “An Iron Man: The Body and Some Contradictions of Hegemonic Masculinity.” In Sport, Men, and the Gender Order: Critical Feminist Perspectives, edited by Michael A. Messner and Donald F. Sabo, 83–95. Champaign: Human Kinetics Books. Google Scholar

Connell, R.W., and James W. Messerschmidt. 2005. “Hegemonic Masculinity: Rethinking the Concept.” Gender and Society 19, no. 6 (December): 829–859. Google Scholar

Conway, Jill Ker. 1998. When Memory Speaks: Reflections on Autobiography. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. Google Scholar

Corneau, Guy. 1991. Absent Fathers, Lost Sons: The Search for Masculine Identity. Boston: Shambhala. Google Scholar

Dagenais, Daniel. 2000. La fin de la famille moderne: Signification des transformations contemporaines de la famille. Québec City: Presses de l’Université Laval. Google Scholar

Daigle, Frédéric. 2019. “Quebec hockey league confronts racism after black player Diaby taunted.” 26 February. The Globe and Mail. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/hockey/article-quebec-hockey-league-confronts-racism-after-black-player-diaby-taunted/. Google Scholar

Demos, John. 1986. “The Changing Faces of Fatherhood.” In Past, Present and Personal: The Family and the Life Course in American History, by John Demos, 41–67. New York: Oxford University Press. Google Scholar

Denault, Todd. 2009. The Man Who Changed the Face of Hockey: Jacques Plante. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart. Google Scholar

DiManno, Rosie. 2012. Coach: The Pat Burns Story. Toronto: Doubleday Canada. Google Scholar

Duhaime, Vincent. 2000. “La construction du père québécois: Le discours du mouvement familial et l’expérience des pères, 1945–1965.” MA Thesis. Université de Montréal. Google Scholar

Duhaime, Vincent. 2004. “‘Les pères ont ici leur devoir’: Le discours du mouvement familial québécois et la construction de la paternité dans l’après-guerre, 1945–1960.” Revue d’histoire de l’Amérique française 57 (4): 535–566. Google Scholar

Farber, Michael. 1988. “Pat Burns Goes Home: Canadiens’ New Coach Has Roots in St. Henri.” 4 June. The Gazette (Montreal): E1, E4. Google Scholar

Fleury, Theo, with Kirstie McLellan Day. 2009. Playing with Fire: The Highest Highs and the Lowest Lows of Theo Fleury. Toronto: HarperCollins. Google Scholar

Foran, Charles. 2011. Maurice Richard. Toronto: Penguin. Google Scholar

Geoffrion, Bernard, and Stan Fischler. 1996. Boom Boom Geffrion: The Life and Times of Bernard Geoffrion. Montréal: McGraw-Hill Ryerson. Google Scholar

Gossage, Peter. 2014. “Au nom du père? Rethinking the History of Fatherhood in Quebec.” American Review of Canadian Studies 44, no. 1 (Spring): 49–67. Google Scholar

Gossage, Peter. 2016a. “Visages de la paternité au Québec, 1900–1960.” Revue d’histoire de l’Amérique française 70, no. 1–2 (Summer-Fall): 53–82. Google Scholar

Gossage, Peter. 2016b. “On Dads and Damages: Looking for the ‘Priceless Child’ and the ‘Manly Modern’ in Quebec’s Civil Courts, 1921–1960.” Histoire sociale/Social History 49, no. 100 (November): 603–623. Google Scholar

Gossage, Peter. 2018. “Celebrating the Family Man: From Father’s Day to La Fête des Pères, 1990–1960.” In Making Men, Making History: Canadian Masculinities across Time and Place, edited by Peter Gossage and Robert Rutherdale, 385–408. Vancouver: UBC Press. Google Scholar

Gretzky, Walter, and Jim Taylor. 1984. Gretzky: From the Backyard Rink to the Stanley Cup. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart. Google Scholar

Griswold, Robert L. 1993. Fatherhood in America: A History. New York: Basic Books. Google Scholar

Holman, Andrew C. 2017. “The Depression Hockey League in Montreal, 1932–1960: Sport and Masculine Civic Performance before the Quiet Revolution.” In The Same but Different: Hockey in Quebec, edited by Jason Blake and Andrew C. Holman, 14–35. Montréal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press. Google Scholar

Kay, Tess, ed. 2009. Fathering Through Sport and Leisure. New York: Routledge. Google Scholar

Lafleur, Réjean. 1981. Guy Lafleur: mon fils. Montréal: DESCLEZ. Google Scholar

Lafrance, André-A. 2009. “Je ne suis plus pratiquant, mais je n’ai pas apostasié!” In La Religion du Canadien de Montréal, edited by Olivier Bauer and Jean-Marc Barreau, 19–28. Montréal: Fides. Google Scholar

Laraque, Georges, with Pierre Thibeault. 2011. Georges Laraque: The Story of the NHL’s Unlikeliest Tough Guy. Toronto: Viking Canada. Google Scholar

LaRossa, Ralph. 1997. The Modernization of Fatherhood: A Social and Political History. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Google Scholar

LaRossa, Ralph. 2004. “The Culture of Fatherhood in the Fifties: A Closer Look.” Journal of Family History 29 (1): 47–70. Google Scholar

LaRossa, Ralph. 2009. “‘Until the ball glows in the twilight’: Fatherhood, Baseball, and the Game of Playing Catch.” In Fathering Through Sport and Leisure, edited by Tess Kay, 23–39. New York: Routledge. Google Scholar

LaRossa, Ralph. 2011. Of War and Men; World War II in the Lives of Fathers and Their Families. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Google Scholar

Lejeune, Philippe. 1986. Moi aussi. Paris: Seuil. Google Scholar

Loftus, Donna. 2006, “The Self in Society: Middle Class Men and Autobiography.” In Life Writing and Victorian Culture, edited by David Amigoni, 67–85. Aldershot: Ashgate. Google Scholar

MacGregor, Roy. 1995. The Home Team: Fathers, Sons, and Hockey. Toronto: Viking. Google Scholar

Marsh, Margaret. 1988. “Suburban Men and Masculine Domesticity, 1870–1915.” American Quarterly 40: 165–186. Google Scholar

Martin, Paul. 2017. “La force d’y croire: The Literary Battles of Georges Laraque.” In The Same but Different: Hockey in Quebec, edited by Jason Blake and Andrew C. Holman, 209–236. Montréal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press. Google Scholar

McKenzie, Bob. 2013. Hockey Dad: True Confessions of a (Crazy) Hockey Parent. Toronto: HarperCollins. Google Scholar

Messner, Michael A. 1992. Power at Play: Sports and the Problem of Masculinity. Boston: Beacon Press. Google Scholar

Monet-Chartrand, Simonne. 1981. Ma vie comme rivière. Récit autobiographique, Tome 1, 1919–1942. Montréal: Remue-ménage. Google Scholar

Plante, Raymond. 2001. Jacques Plante: Behind the Mask. Translated by Darcy Dunton. Toronto: XYZ Éditeur. Google Scholar

Presse canadienne. 2002. “Alexandre Daigle n’avait pas vraiment le goût de faire carrière.” 5 March. Réseau des sports (RDS). https://www.rds.ca/hockey/alexandre-daigle-n-avait-pas-vraiment-le-gout-de-faire-carriere-1.166270. Google Scholar

Ransom, Amy J. 2014. Hockey, PQ. Canada’s Game in Quebec’s Popular Culture. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Google Scholar

Ransom, Amy J. 2017. “‘He Shoots! He Scores!’: Language and Gender Politics in the Quebec Television Series Lance et compte.” In The Same but Different: Hockey in Quebec, edited by Jason Blake and Andrew C. Holman, 143–168. Montréal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press. Google Scholar

Richard, Maurice. 1971. “Ma vie chez les Canadiens.” In Les Canadiens sont là! La plus grande dynastie du hockey, edited by Maurice Richard and Stan Fischler. Translated by Louis Rémillard, 203–276. Scarborough: Prentice-Hall of Canada. Google Scholar

Rivard, Andrée, in collaboration with Francine de Montigny. 2016. De la naissance et des pères. Montréal: Remue-ménage. Google Scholar

Robillard, Guy. 2008. Gilles Tremblay: 40 ans avec le Canadien. Boisbriand: Les Éditions au Carré. Google Scholar

Roy, Michel. 2008. Patrick Roy: Winning, Nothing Else: A Biography. Mississauga: Wiley. Google Scholar

Roy, Michelle. 2007. “L’évolution de la figure paternelle dans les publicités du journal sherbrookois, La Tribune, au XXe siècle.” MA Thesis. Université de Sherbrooke. Google Scholar

Rutherdale, Robert. 2011. “Three Faces of Fatherhood as a Masculine Category: Tyrants, Teachers, and Workaholics as ‘Responsible Family Men’ During Canada’s Baby Boom.” In What is Masculinity? Historical Dynamics from Antiquity to the Contemporary World, edited by John H. Arnold and Sean Brady, 323–348. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Google Scholar

Rutherdale, Robert. 2015. “In loco parentis: Family Men and Communal Fatherhood.” Unpublished paper presented to the British Association for Canadian Studies, London, April 2015. Google Scholar

Rutherdale, Robert 2018a. “‘I’m a lousy father’: Alcoholic Fathers in Postwar Canada and the Myths of Mascuine Crises.” In Making Men, Making History: Canadian Masculinities across Time and Place, edited by Peter Gossage and Robert Rutherdale, 409–426. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press. Google Scholar

Rutherdale, Robert. 2018b. “A Myth within a Myth: ‘Outdoor Shinny’ as the Nursery for Canada’s National Game.” In Hockey: Challenging Canada’s Game – Au-delà du sport national, edited by Jenny Ellison and Jennifer Anderson, 125–137. Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press. Google Scholar

Saint-Martin, Lori. 2010. Au-delà du nom: La question du père dans la littérature québécoise actuelle. Montréal: Presses de l’Université de Montréal. Google Scholar

Saudrais, Guillaume. 2010. “Maris et pères devant les tribunaux civils québécois, 1900–1920.” MA thesis. Sherbrooke: Université de Sherbrooke. Google Scholar

Shoalts, David. 2015. “Former NHLer Patrick O’Sullivan Details Parental Abuse in New Book.” 19 October. The Globe and Mail. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/hockey/former-nhler-patrick-osullivan-details-parental-abuse-in-new-book/article26876699/. Google Scholar

Smith, Sidonie, and Julia Watson. 2010. Reading Autobiography: A Guide for Interpreting Life Narratives. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Google Scholar

Tessier, Yves. 1985. Camille Henry: Une époque. Sillery: Tessier. Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

Gossage, Peter