Call for Papers | “The Progress of European Ice Hockey in the Shadow of NHL and KHL” | Special issue of Sport in Society. Call ends September 30, 2018

In some parts of Europe, ice hockey has played an imperative role in the progress of sport in general, particularly in Sweden and Finland, and has hence formed the citizens’ common conception of sport. In addition, in these countries, ice hockey has worked as a vehicle in the development of the Welfare Society and in the vision of socialization, integration and democracy. Still, the practice as well as the development of ice hockey has, on top, challenged the traditional Sport Model in these countries by being the supreme supporter of commercialization processes in sport. Thus, ice hockey is the vital ‘drive’ for the commercialization, ‘eventification’ and Americanization of sport.

In contextual respects, the market model of ice hockey has been influenced – ‘colonized’ – by the culture and the power of NHL, which might be theoretically handled by the concepts of, e.g., the Americanization process, Macdonaldization and Disneyfication. Moreover, the technical hockey of the former CCCP and of current Russia has, during different historical periods, had a noteworthy influence. Hence, Nordic/European hockey is placed culturally, as well as politically, between the two opposites of vital political forces and the markets.

In addition to the development of internal leagues, ice hockey in Europe has worked as talent producers for NHL and as a market for senior migration to KHL. Thus, the drain of talented players in leagues, particularly in SHL and the SM-liiga, is a problem in the (commercial and professional) development of the leagues. Consequently, the “star quality” has been curbed and has therefore, in a commercial vision, to be balanced. As a result, the leagues are ‘compensated’ – or more correctly, superseded – by second-hand Canadian players. In this respect, the leagues become ‘show rooms’ for their hopes and possible return to NHL. In different ways, the hegemony of NHL – and of KHL – shapes the progress of the hockey leagues.

In recent days, the expansion ideology of KHL has become a psychological and real threat to the leagues, as a radical supplement to the senior migration of players. Jokerit (a famous Finnish club) and its transfer to KHL is, consequently, both an interesting and a challenging example.

Potential themes include, but are not limited to:

    • The Scandinavian/European Sport Model in Transition, in relation to ice hockey
    • Sport (e.g. ice hockey) and the Welfare Society
    • Cultural Impacts.
    • NHL and Americanization of Society
    • CCCP hockey and its Current Romanticism, beyond Commercialization
    • The Iron Curtain and Global Politics, and its relation to Hockey
    • KHL and Geographical and Political Expansions
    • Migration and Cultural Diversity and Paradoxes
    • Scandinavian Influences on NHL
    • The Migration and the Market of ‘Sport Stars’
    • Coaching Cultures
    • Hockey as an Imperative Culture
    • Eventification of Sport

For full submissions instructions and author benefits, please visit the Instructions for Authors page.


September 30, 2018: Abstract Submission Deadline
October 31, 2018: Authors notified of acceptance
April 15, 2019: Submission of full paper, first draft
October 15, 2019: Deadline for final manuscript


Guest Editors

Bo Carlsson, Tobias Stark and Jyri Backman
Linnaeus University and Malmö University


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