Last Wednesday, hockey-minded students and faculty attended a lecture
at UTM by Gemini award-winning sports caster and UTM alumnus, Bruce
Dowbiggin. Dowbiggin was in town to promote new book (Money Players:
How Hockey's Greatest Stars Beat The NHL At It's Own Game).
Reading excerpts from his book, Dowbiggin explained that since
the 1988 trade of Wayne Gretzky from the Edmonton Oilers to the
L.A. Kings, hockey has been transformed into an industry where it
is the players, not the owners, who control salaries. Dowbiggin
cites this fact as one of the largest problems with professional
hockey in North America today. He noted that the NHL, unlike other
sports leagues, has neither a salary tax nor a luxury tax.
"Can the NHL function with a salary cap? Of course it can.
The question is, can the owners be responsible?" Dowbiggin
reminisced about the golden age of hockey in the 1950s, a time when
players had little say in determining their future, as a means of
explaining why players may be antagonistic toward managers as far
as pay is concerned.
"When people say 'why don't they give managers a break,' people
look back to this older age where players had little power,"
Dowbiggin said. Even today, he adds, retired players are still treated
After the reading, Dowbiggin fielded questions on topics ranging
from the prospect of an NHL lockout next year to the state of hockey
today. Dowbiggin also dropped some advice from his days as an editor
of the Medium when he was an Erindale College undergrad.
"Don't be afraid to go out and live. Don't think you've failed
if you're not on the CBC at 25, or CEO of a company. Use what you
know as a way to sell stuff. Travel. Be a unique voice, have a unique
experience and sell it."
Dowbiggin's lecture was attended by students, professors and staff,
and was well received.
"I was impressed with what Bruce could contribute as to how
the industry works," third year CCIT student Cayly Dixon said.
"It was helpful to me as a third year student."
Local area resident, Fred Leon attended the talk and said that
Dowbiggin was "willing to take a risk in exposing the hidden
secrets of the NHL. I'm pleased to say he's a pure journalist and
not driven by NHL puppetry. It was refreshing."
Dowbiggin graduated from UTM in 1977, with a degree in English
and Drama. While at UTM, he served first as Arts and Entertainment
editor for the Medium, then as Editor-in-Chief. After getting involved
in journalism, he became sports anchor at CBC in 1995 and is currently
a sports columnist for the Calgary Herald. He has won two Gemini
awards for best sports caster, and has published three books since
1993. On being back at UTM for the first time in a long while, Dowbiggin
"It was good to see how the campus has changed. I'm proud
to have gone to UTM."