Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Johnson's the man in Van for Team USA

Former NHLer Mark Johnson will coach the Team USA women's at the 2010 Olympic hockey tournament.

As The Canadian Press puts, "He's a man familiar with beating the odds in Olympic hockey." The emphasis might be on the first three words. (And won't the U.S. actually be favourites in Vancouver?)

The right whoever for the job (Jan. 21)


Andrew Bucholtz said...

Interesting post, but I don't get why the U.S. would be favourites. Canada's the defending champions and on home soil. The U.S. will give them a run for the money, but I don't think they come in as heavily favoured. Also, I'm not sure I buy criticizing Johnson just because he's male. Women have done well coaching men's teams in a variety of sports (granted, mostly at lower levels, but it's still proof that it can be done) and men have done well coaching women's teams, so I don't think gender should necessarily be an issue here (and if you argue for like coaching like in the case of women's teams, that means for consistency you'd have to argue that women can't coach men). As you pointed out in the earlier post, the athletes want a coach who gives them the best chance of winning. Either of the female candidates would also be a solid choice, but I wouldn't discount Johnson just because of his gender. It would be a problem if there were no female coaches in women's hockey, but that isn't the case. Just my two cents, though.

sager said...


No one discounted Johnson. It was noted he was qualified as far as anyone knows ... The point earlier was to make people aware while it's a great storyline to have Badger Bob's son and a member of the Miracle on Ice etam behind the bench, please keep in mind women athletes don't always have that media-friendly storyline.

Also, Turin was long ago and the U.S. has beaten Canada at the most recent Four Nations and world tournaments.

I guess I should be grateful someone, anyone, commented on one of my posts.

Andrew Bucholtz said...

Yeah, that's a good point, Neate, and it's interesting that this story got far more play than anything about women's hockey usually does (case in point: I didn't know about the U.S. winning the more recent tournaments). Johnson still seems like a good choice to me, though, based on his credentials, not his gender.
(P.S. Comments aren't everything, as there's plenty of us reading without commenting, but you do still get way more of them than my site!)

sager said...

Just look at what the Milwaukee paper focused on ... shouldn't they have played up his experience coaching women's hockey, more than what he did 30 yrs ago as a player?

I dunno, it's always been a basic rule with me, don't overly quote the male coach of a female team.

The Milwaukee paper, easy enough mistake, also said that the U.S. "won the silver medal in 2002 and 2006."

Wonder if all the Swedes who play for Minnesota-Duluth (a rival of Johnson's Wisconsin Badgers) saw that!

Dennis Prouse said...

The issue of having male coaches and officials for female sports has always been a thorny one. On the one hand, I understand their desire to profile and advance women in sports, something that can't be done if those jobs keep getting filled by men. OTOH, at the elite levels, it is painful to see a woefully weak female official working a Canada-U.S. women's hockey game when you know full well that any Junior "A" official you could grab would call a better game.

BTW, what happened to Daniele Savageau? I always thought she was the best female coach this country produced. It's too bad she isn't still running the women's program. It's nothing more than a gut feeling, but Savageau always gave off a stronger, more competent vibe to me than Melody Davidson does.

sager said...

@ Andrew: After Atalanta has a good post up on the subject .... they point out the previous coach, Ben Smith, actually said the 2010 coach should be a woman.

@ Dennis: Danièle Sauvageau, last I heard, was helping organize the new women's hockey team at the U de Montreal. They begin play next season; they'll be the first francophone university in Quebec with a women's team.