August 22, 2017


17° C, Partly cloudy

Full Forecast


Advertise With Us

Hockey pools hurting our economy

While employees ponder trades, GNP gets grosser

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 20/10/2013 (1401 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

I don't pretend to be an economic genius, but I think I have figured out why Canada has a hard time competing with global powerhouses, such as Japan.

The problem -- and get ready to slap your forehead in jealousy because you didn't think of this first -- is office hockey pools.

How about more time producing stuff, less time studying Nashville Predator Pekka Rinne's stats?


How about more time producing stuff, less time studying Nashville Predator Pekka Rinne's stats?

It's the only thing that makes sense. For instance, in Japan, office workers will spend their day doing productive activities, such as inventing cool new computerized devices, singing the company song or performing group calisthenics to ensure they are in peak physical condition; whereas, in Canada, your standard employee spends the bulk of his time poring over NHL statistics and wondering whether it would make good economic sense to trade Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne for Anaheim Ducks right-winger Corey Perry. (Answer: No, it would not.)

The economic point I am making is that, instead of contributing to our gross national product, which is getting grosser by the minute, Canadian workers such as myself are expending their mental and spiritual energies pretending to be NHL general managers and monitoring the statistical performance of professional hockey players who make more money than we could ever dream of, not that we are bitter about this.

This genius economic theory occurred to me last week when a group of co-workers gathered near my office cubicle to discuss how our fantasy hockey teams were making out in the early days of the new season.

When I floated the idea that our national obsession with hockey-pool teams is a key reason we are getting roughed up by countries such as Japan in the global economic marketplace, my colleague Gerald, who typically writes hard-hitting editorials about non-hockey-related topics such as the chaos in Syria, suggested if we journalists devoted the same daily passion to the things we were writing about, our fireplace mantels would most likely collapse under the weight of all the Pulitzer Prizes we would end up winning.

This made a lot of sense to me, even though I currently have a far greater chance of winning a (bad word) Pulitzer Prize than I do of winning our office hockey pool. I hasten to mention this is not my fault. I am not one to point fingers, but the truth is I am languishing in the basement of our pool because of one key factor, by which I mean Murray.

Regular readers will know Murray is one of our outstanding business writers and has the misfortune of sitting near me. Most years, on the night we journalists get together to drink beer and draft our teams, I am sick or have another major journalism commitment such as sleeping on the couch, so I always pressure Murray to pick my team for me.

Generally speaking, this is a genius move on my part, because Murray, along with being the nicest person you have ever met, is also extremely knowledgeable about hockey. But this year something has gone horribly wrong. While Murray's team is off to a hot start, the guys he picked for me are playing more like the Vienna Boys Choir than NHL stars.

As a respected journalist, I am doing my best not to let this damage my long-standing relationship with my buddy Murray. For instance, the other day, while Murray was trying to conduct a sensitive business interview over the phone, I showed him how grateful I was for his help via the technique of repeatedly poking him in the back with a rolled up newspaper and then scuttling back to my cubicle.

Some journalists would have reacted by strangling me with their phone cord. But, fortunately, Murray is not "some" journalist.

Of course, it could have been much worse for him. If we lived in a global economic powerhouse such as Japan, I probably would have poked him with a sword.

Read more by Doug Speirs.


Advertise With Us

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective January 2015.

Photo Store

Scroll down to load more