Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Tuesday, February 16, 2021

For all the years I’ve been watching hockey, I’m stunned that I’ve never noticed this fundamental divergence in North American stick-curve predilections:

According to sales figures from stick manufacturers, a majority of Canadian hockey players shoot left-handed, and a majority of American players shoot right-handed. No reason is known for this disparity, which cuts across all age groups and has persisted for decades.

Most Canadians, like most Americans, are naturally right-handed, so the discrepancy has nothing to do with national brain-wiring. And how you hold a pencil, say, has little or no bearing on how you hold a stick. A left-handed shooter puts his right hand on top; a right-hander puts the left hand there.

Seriously? I can’t say I’ve noticed this on the ice, from NHL level on down. In fact, I’m downright skeptical, despite all the stats that seemingly back this up. As for theories for why this is (supposedly) so:

The Canadian journalist and author Bruce Dowbiggin noted the Canadian-American handedness split in his 2001 book, “The Stick: A History, a Celebration, an Elegy.” On Dowbiggin’s Web site, a reader named Kent Mayhew suggested the difference may have to do with how old a player is when he first picks up a hockey stick.

“The top hand on a hockey stick has to be able to handle the torques of a stick while the bottom hand just has to handle the weight with no torques,” he wrote. He theorized that American children, who tend to take up hockey when they are older and bigger, can afford to put the stronger hand, generally the right, on the lower part of the shaft for more precision.

Personally, having picked up the sport late in life, it’s no surprise that I’m a righty, both in stick-handling and firing the puck. Then again, neither my wrister nor my slapshot are exactly blistering; so maybe I should start practicing a southpaw-shooting style, like my Canuck brethren…

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 02/16/2010 11:51 PM
Category: Hockey, Society
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birth berth
I can’t say that the sport of curling is raising its esteem in my eyes with the participation of a pregnant stone-slider on the Canadian Olympic women’s team.

Granted, Kristie Moore is an alternate, so chances are good she won’t actually play. But she is on the squad, which means she’ll share in the anticipated bounty:

Team Canada is the gold-medal favorite in the women’s curling event, which begins Tuesday and runs through Friday of next week. Even if Moore doesn’t play, she will receive any medal Canada wins.

Which, to me, begs the question: Since she’s curling for two, shouldn’t Moore receive an extra medal? Baby is on board, after all. The kid deserves his/her own five-ring bling, just for being there.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 02/16/2010 11:14 PM
Category: Other Sports, Society
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