Dr. Matt Hoven

Associate Professor

Peter and Doris Kule Chair in Catholic Religious Education

I am a professor at St. Joseph’s College, University of Alberta, in Edmonton, Canada. I research questions about education, sport, and religion.

Latest Book

Hockey Priest: Father David Bauer and the Spirit of the Canadian Game (CUA Press) is available on their website, through their Canadian distributor, and other websites like Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, etc.

Cover of 'Hockey Priest: Father David Bauer and the Spirit of the Canadian Game' by Dr. Matt Hoven.

Born in Waterloo, Ontario, in 1924, to a prominent family, David Bauer attended St. Michael's College-School run by the Basilian Fathers of Toronto. After serving in World War II, Bauer joined the religious community and coached its St. Michael's Majors to a national championship in 1961. Influenced by philosophers like Jacques Maritain, Bauer tried to find solutions to problems created within elite hockey and thus founded Canada's first ever National Team program. This team countered the cutthroat ideals of hockey's powerbrokers and set out to return Canada to international glory. The team represented the nation at several global tournaments and three Winter Olympic Games. Bauer was posthumously inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1989.

Hockey Priest looks past simply understanding Bauer as a do-gooder or hockey innovator. It shows how he attempted to create a different stream of hockey that could better support youth and so build up the nation. Archival research for the book uncovered Bauer-written hockey reports, speeches, and notes that detail his thinking about the game and his politicking to bring about change in it. Interviews with dozens of associates and family members told the story of his bold efforts to take on the National Hockey League. Despite his work being undermined by some supporters of the corporate game, Bauer offered a vision for Canada's sport that remains an important counterpoint in the sport's history and its ongoing challenges.

"Hoven demonstrates both a convincing grasp on what made Bauer tick as a well a very sound command of the complexities of amateur hockey administration in the mid- and late twentieth century and its turbulent relationship with professional interests in the National Hockey League. The contribution is new and fresh; it is also significant."
― Andrew Holman, Bridgewater State University

"Hockey is bigger than any one person or organization. Father Bauer reminds us that it should first serve the needs of young players across our nation. Because hockey is for everyone, Bauer's insights and example challenge us to consider the purpose of the game―for kids, parents, coaches, and our country. There's more to life than hockey―and there's more to hockey than a just game."
― Hayley Wickenheiser, four-time Olympic Gold medalist and Hockey Hall of Fame inductee