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Boozing Brawling and Community Building: Sport-Facilitated Community Development in a Rural Ontario Community

Sport, and specifically hockey, is discussed extensively in relation to social identity formation and other social outcomes, both positive and negative, within Canadian society. In this article, we utilize a collaborative analysis to examine an autoethnographic account of participation in a rural community hockey tournament and its various social outcomes. Through this analysis, we discuss the construction of social identities, social capital, nostalgia, and heritage and then we explore the tensions that exist between the values made explicit by institutional sporting bodies, such as the Canadian Sport Policy, and the values embodied by the tournament. We discuss how idiosyncratic elements of the tournament generate social outcomes and promote community development, despite violating institutional norms. By revealing the rift between institutional- and community-level values, we highlight a need for more contextual interpretations of rural community sporting events in order to better understand the complex ways in which they may contribute to local culture and community development.