Updated: Nov 2
By: Evelina Silveira, President Diversity at Work
What is more Canadian than hockey? Maple syrup or poutine? No, not even that! So what do you get when you add our favourite symbol with a sprinkle of Indo-Pakistani culture? Hockey Night in Canada in Punjabi!
You don’t have to understand Punjabi to appreciate the game. In fact, some of the enjoyment comes from listening to the broadcasters shout out a score.
The elation is magnified in Punjabi!
On the surface, Hockey Night in Punjabi may seem like just a hockey game moderated in another language, but its impact is far-reaching.
It’s a testament to:
- the “power of the buck”. It makes for great business. Punjabi is one of the most widely spoken of immigrant languages in Canada. This is a great way to expand the brand and sell! Market segmentation allows for new opportunities for growth. Whoever thought of this was a genius!
- from an integration point of view, it shows you can adapt and enjoy cultural aspects of a new country and make them your own.
- it tells us sport can bring people together whether you are an Indian-Punjabi speaker or a Pakistani one, cultural differences can be set aside to enjoy the game.
Not unlike the Punjabi spectators, when my parents came to Canada they had never seen a hockey game. Football (soccer) was their sport of choice back home as ice rinks and snow were no where to be found. However, before long, they discovered the joys of watching Hockey Night in Canada every Saturday. My mother could enthusiastically rhyme off the names of her favourite team — The Toronto Maple Leafs (this was the 70’s); complete with a Portuguese version of their name. Before long, each trip to the corner store meant I had a new set of hockey cards with pictures of toothless Darryl Sittler and Eddy Shack! I never really got into the game on TV, but did not want to break my mother’s heart. I accepted the hockey cards just the same appreciating them for the accompanying stick of bubble gum.
Integration into a new culture is not an easy thing to do, but every effort must be made to look at the brighter parts of what it can offer. Hockey Night in Canada in Punjabi tells us while cricket may always be the beloved sport in India and Pakistan, cultural adaptation is possible and necessary.
From a business perspective, it shows us immigrants have spending power and taking a one-size-fits all model may mean missing out on economic opportunities.
So, hurrah for Hockey Night in Canada in Punjabi! You score on many levels!