Beartown’s hockey team is a big part of the town’s identity. When a crime is committed by one of their player’s it throws the team’s supporters into moral turmoil.
In Beartown we are introduced to a small hockey crazed town in Sweden. The town is quite isolated in the forest and the only two forms of entertainment is watching their junior hockey team and drinking. Without much going on in the town, the team becomes a sense of pride for its people, especially since the team actually has a shot at the national championships. However, general manager, Peter Andersson, begins to realize the fame and the pressure is getting to his young players. With such high expectations on their shoulders many players start to act out in different ways. This comes to a head after winning their semi-final game and the team’s star player, Kevin throws a party when his parents aren’t home. As the party gets out of control a classmate of Kevin’s, Maya, would be left traumatized by the actions of one the players. Her accusations throw the town into chaos and leave many people divided. With player’s now facing suspensions ahead of the championship game, supporters of the team are left upset over a team that was once a major sense of pride for the entire town.
Beartown's Relation To Sport Business
The main thing Beartown teaches us in relation to sport business is how to not handle a public relations issue. With the identity of the resident’s of Beartown being so closely tied to their junior team, they believed their team could do no wrong, even when they did. Unfortunately for Maya and her family what happened to her was simply brushed under the carpet and left her feeling completely alone. Even with her father being the general manager of the team, many people around him told him to keep his mouth shut and focus on the championship game. This caused him even more issues in his family life as he went against his daughter instead of standing up for her. Ultimately Beartown players were suspended and they went on to lose the championship game.
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Why read Beartown?
Beartown is not just a book about hockey and sport. Although it does show the pride and how closely it relates to identity for the town’s people it teaches the reader a lot about other issues. This book does include darker subject matter so it is not recommended for children, but for those old enough to understand these issues it can be very eye opening. Maya must face the negative side of her perpetrator’s fame. Although this book doesn’t teach much about the sport of hockey, it gives us an important look into how we idolize some athletes, and seem to forget to hold them to the same rules as the rest of us.