Tuesday, February 16, 2010


From the New York Times:
According to sales figures from [hockey] 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.

This difference extends to golfers too, by the way, for reasons that might be obvious only to a Canadian: the swings are somewhat similar, and most of us have held a hockey stick long before we've ever heard about golf.

The article, thankfully, makes no attempt to politicize this fact. Neither will I. It's just a quirky thing that I, as a one-time hockey player, find somewhat interesting. I myself shoot right, so I guess that puts me in the minority among my countrymen.

The article puts forward some possible explanations for this phenomenon, but the best one is not really an "explanation" at all. From the staff at a hockey shop in Vancouver, on how to decide if a kid will be a left or right-handed shot: "We give the kid a stick and see what they do."

I envision a world in which this basic hockey principle is extended into all areas of pedagogy, ushering in an era of worldwide brotherhood and equality. Well, you'd still get 5 minutes for fighting.


  1. I've been staring at this page for the longest time, trying to think of something clever to say ...

  2. It's OK, Glenn. Hockey has that kind of magical effect...