Hockey and Canadian literature

The subpages accessible via the menu above, take you to some of the online lectures I’ve created on hockey and Canadian literature. I later made these available to students in an online course on hockey and literature. If you’re a student or instructor, please feel free to make use of these in any way you wish. If you’re a student and are quoting from these lectures in an essay, please make sure to document your sources accurately. 


Here is the syllabus from an online course I taught during 2010 and 2011 entitled “Hero of the Play: Hockey in Canadian Literature.”

Course Syllabus:

Hero of the Play: Hockey in Canadian Literature

Course Dates
Contact Information
Required Texts
Course Description
How This Course Works
Work Expectations
Assignment Overview

Course Dates:

August 2 – 13, 2010


Contact Information

Dr. Paul Martin
Assistant Professor, Dept. of English/Director, Canadian Studies Program 321 Old Mill
AIM: canlitprof

The best way to reach me during our course is by e-mail or IM.


Required Texts

All textbooks are available from the typical online sources. A new copy of King Learywill be very hard to obtain domestically, but you should have luck with either or, two sources that you can use to get books from Canada. Don’t wait until the last moment though, as it will take some time for your book to arrive.

  • Paul Quarrington, King Leary
  • Richard Harrison, Hero of the Play (10th Anniversary Edition)
  • Randall Maggs, Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems
  • Cara Hedley, Twenty Miles
  • Other reading distributed by instructor


Course Description:

“Hero of the Play”: Hockey in Canadian Literature

While hockey is undoubtedly a quintessential part of Canadian identity, it is mostly absent from Canadian fiction and poetry until the publication of Roch Carrier’s celebrated short story “The Hockey Sweater” in 1978. Over the last thirty years, however, hockey has proven to become a rich source of inspiration for some of Canada’s best writers of fiction and poetry.

In this intensive two-credit online course we will read and discuss some of the most important fiction and poetry about hockey to emerge during this period. We will also spend time considering the extensive connections between hockey and Canada’s national identity, which is reflected in everything from the ubiquitous outdoor rinks in nearly every neighborhood across the country to the presence of a passage from “The Hockey Sweater” on the back of Canada’s five-dollar bill.

While this is certainly a course for fans of the game, it is also designed to be a course for those fascinated by the intersections between literature and culture. Some knowledge of hockey and Canada will be helpful but is not essential in any way to one’s enjoyment of this course.

N.B.: As this is an online course, there will be a heavy emphasis on participation in online discussions. To contribute effectively and to gain the most out of the course, you must complete the readings on schedule.


How the Course Works:

The course is based around two key components:
1) Reading the online lectures (and listening to audio lectures in some cases) about the material we’re studying.
2) Participating in the daily class discussions on the Blackboard discussion board.

Aside from those daily assignments, there are also brief reading quizzes for each book (mainly to help keep you on top of your reading) and one essay to write. Every day, then, you have both reading and writing to do.


Work Expectations:

Your responsibility as a student in this class is to be on top of your reading (both the books and the online lectures) and to participate actively in our discussions.

You should have each book read by the first day we will be discussing it in order to be ready for both our conversations about the book and the required reading quiz.


Assignment Overview

Quizzes: There will be five online quizzes that will count toward your final grade. These quizzes will be fairly easy and will mainly serve to help keep you on schedule with your reading. Each quiz will be given on the day we begin discussion of the next book.

Discussion: Participating in the online discussions for the course is vital to your success in this class. Unlike in a face-to-face class, you need to “talk” every day. There will be discussion questions for each day of our class connected to the assigned reading material. Your task every day will be to answer the questions I have asked and to post at least two responses to your fellow classmates’ contributions.

You will earn 25% of your final grade for your postings on the discussion board. I will be grading you on the quality of your answers to the assigned questions, but also on how well you respond to your classmates and engage them in further conversation. In your responses, I will be looking for signs that you have thought about the text in some detail and that you are listening (or reading, I guess) carefully to what your classmates are saying and taking their views into consideration.

Participation: It’s entirely possible, of course, to make well thought out contributions to the discussion board, but also to do so and participate infrequently. To receive full marks for participation, you need consistently to write several posts a day and to show that you are actively participating in the conversations that will ensue.

Essays: In this class you will write one essays of a minimum of 1500 words. The due date is listed on the schedule and topics will be announced no later than one week before the essay is due.



Your grade will be determined as follows:

Reading quizzes: 5 @ 5% each = 25 %
Discussion = 25 %
Participation = 10 %
Essay = 40 %

Participation in the online discussion is a vital component of this course. All discussion and writing assignments must be completed on time. You must complete all assigned work in order to receive a passing grade.



One thought on “Hockey and Canadian literature

  1. Sherisse Dixon

    hello..I am looking for a course to take to fulfill my minor in English. I live in Canada and just wondered if this course is open to Canadian students (as I believe you work at the University of Vermont). Thanks for your time!

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