Thursday, May 27, 2004

Hockey and Politics

Here’s a little theory I worked out which I feel offers an infallible system for determining election winners and Stanley Cup champions.

The last time a Canadian team won the Stanley Cup was in 1993 when the Montreal Canadiens took it. This corresponds to the year that Jean Chretien, a Quebec born Liberal leader (which is the traditional party of Quebec for all intents and purposes) first became Prime Minister. In the years prior to this, it had been the Alberta teams who dominated with Edmonton winning Cups in ’84, ’85, ’87, ’88, and ’90 and Calgary winning in ’89. During this time, the Western based Conservative party held office, with massive majority governments. However, since the Conservatives were reduced to 2 seats in ’93, the Alberta teams have struggled year in and year out, displaying as much ineptitude as the federal Tories. It should also be noted that the first year the Oilers won a Cup was 1984, the same year when Brian Mulroney won his majority government.


If you want to, you can even push it back further. The Canadiens (who we’ve established that, as the dominant hockey team, are the equivalent of Canada’s dominant party, the Liberals), dominated hockey through the late 60s and 70s, at the same time another Quebec born Liberal leader dominated politics. Trudeau’s time in power marked the glory years of the Liberals in much the same way these were the Montreal Canadiens glory years. The Habs last Cup from that dynasty came in 1979…coinciding with the year Trudeau was defeated. If you want to go further back, the last time the Liberal party had an Ontario-born leader who won an election was with Mike Pearson who’s last full year as Prime Minister was…wait for it…in 1967 when the Toronto Maple Leafs last won the Stanley Cup.

Now obviously this theory isn’t perfect. Montreal won a cup in ’86 but I believe Turner may have led in the polls that year. Without doubt this was Turner’s high point as Liberal leader before the wheels started to fall off the track. It should also be noted that the Quebec Nordiques left Quebec the same year the referendum was held which most certainly fits into this theory (if we try and push hard enough).


Since this theory is most certainly flawless we can apply it to present day and the Calgary Flames playoff run. With the Flames in the Stanley Cup finals and poised for the Cup, this means Alberta is once again poised to make a breakthrough with their party, the Conservatives, led by Calgary-born Stephen Harper. Martin, with roots in Ontario and Quebec could be classified as either a “Habs Liberal” or a “Leafs Liberal” but since neither team managed to get past the second round this year, clearly things do not bode well for him. And as for poor Jack Layton, you must certainly be wondering where he fits into all of this. I haven’t worked out the details yet but I’m absolutely positive that an Anaheim Mighty Ducks win last year would have set in motion the karma needed for an NDP government. Tragically this did not happen which has me betting heavily on Harper’s Conservatives forming government this spring. If the Flames lose, I’d gamble on minority but if the Flames win, I think a majority government may be in the cards.

(Disclaimer: This theory is not foolproof and may not be 100% accurate. As a result, I do not endorse any wagers on sporting events or political outcomes on the basis of this theory alone)


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