Business and Humanity

Vancouver's Clown Show

Most people have heard capitalism described unerringly as the “law of the jungle” and a “dog-eat-dog world.” The pathos of capitalism is currently playing out in Vancouver, where grown-up millionaires are playing a kids’s game called hockey.

Professional sports serve as a microcosm of rampant capitalism — a, perhaps necessary, distraction for the masses.

Many Vancouverites live and die along with the fortunes of their National Hockey League team, the Vancouver Canucks. Unfortunately, the season so far has been a disappointment, as the team finds itself outside of a playoff spot. The 2021-2022 NHL season saw a mid-season coaching change with Bruce Boudreau taking over a floundering Canucks team. He coached the Canucks to a 32-15-10 finish, finishing just outside the playoff picture by five points.

Based on the solid finish, one might reasonably have projected bigger and better things for Boudreau and the Canucks for the upcoming 2022-2023 year. However, Canucks experienced more upheaval last season. In came a new manager, Patrik Allvin, and president of hockey operations, Jim Rutherford.

For some reason, despite the Canucks’s outstanding second half, the new team did not sign Boudreau to a contract right away. Given the circumstances, the new management team had little choice to sign him, as fans would have scratched their heads at letting a winning coach loose, and Boudreau was eventually rehired, in May 2022, but only given a one-year contract.

Training camp and the start of the current season were inauspicious for the Canucks, and the pressure was put on Boudreau for a team whose current construction under Rutherford is severely flawed. Indeed, Rutherford had to admit to his insufficient off-season tinkering, “I thought we’re going to have to do minor surgery… Have I changed my position? Yeah, we have to do major surgery.” He further confessed, “I’m disappointed in the job I’ve done to this point.”

Nonetheless, despite Rutherford’s own responsibility for the Canucks’s misfortunes, it is Boudreau who has been left hanging — and, to make matters worse, Rutherford is publicly shopping for a new coach.

Every hockey fan is aware of it. So is Boudreau who answered when asked, “I’d be a fool to say I don’t know what’s going on.”

During the game last Friday, supportive Vancouver fans honored Boudreau with chants of “Bruce, there it is!

Boudreau was moved. “I’ve only been here a year but it’ll go down in my memory books, out of the 48 years I’ve played and coached, as the most incredible thing I’ve experienced on a personal level, other than winning championships, of course. But it’s very touching.”

The team on-the-ice is also adversely affected by management’s blunders.

“It kind of seems like the mindset and the mood got to us tonight,” said Canucks veteran defenceman Tyler Myers following a loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. “You can tell guys are down. It’s not easy times right now, there’s a lot going on. We’ve got to find a way to stay positive and keep working.”

Outside the hockey game, the morbid waiting game continues, as media speculate when the ax will fall.

Pro sports is about winning, but this maltreatment of staff winds up making Rutherford look like a loser. Rutherford has been part of three championship teams in his long tenure, but for many his seeming inhumanity is also now a part of his legacy

The media also looks pathetic. It is usually sad when any human is rendered jobless. But an enormous spotlight has been shone on well-to-do pro sports personalities while others languish in far more dire circumstances. To wit, monopoly media leaves a media hero like Julian Assange hanging to the cruelty of an angered hegemon in overt defiance of any norms of justice. Palestinians have endured the persecutions, massacres, and oppression of Israeli Jews for decades with scant media coverage of the Zionist crimes, and even worse, often providing justifications for the crimes. There are plenty of major crimes that escape the lens of monopoly media.


Most of us like to be entertained. But entertainment must not become a distraction from the reality of the world. It is important that we all hold on to our humanity and care about and for fellow human beings. We must not lose sight of how much human-on-human cruelty there is in the world. Hence, it is incumbent not to become sidetracked by spectacles put on by capitalism and, thereby, forget the fates of unfortunate peoples elsewhere.

Kim Petersen is an independent writer. He can be emailed at: kimohp at Read other articles by Kim.