What is going on with hockey and its fans? If I were a hockey player right about now I would be stopping all of the checking that you turn coat fans like to see, but when a player gets hurt by want to some how free yourselves from guilty feelings and send me to jail for. The slash, the clip, the boarding etc., are as much of hockey as anything else in the game and happen in and during heated moments of the game as does fighting. Hockey is an intense, fast, violent, sport where players are paid to check, fight and even hurt the other players. When a player for example does not go into the boards the way, the fans, the coaches, the media and the owners want what happens to said player? He gets booed, branded a coward, benched for not engaging and ultimately traded or otherwise let go fo not giving his all.
I think that there definite need to have serious discussions again about removing the violence from hockey period. No checking, no contact what so ever and make the game one of non violence based on the other skills like, stick handling, puck passing and goal tending are valued commodities again. A game where even the little guy can play because he does not have to worry about being injured by being checked, or physically beaten on, by a bigger more aggressive player. It is no accident that over the years the players have gotten bigger in size. They had to, if they were to absorb the hits that they were expected to take and give. it is also no secret why violence is in the sport still. It is you same blood thirsty fans, who wold not be caught dead at a hockey game if all of the violence was regulated out of the sport.
How many of you season ticket holders would go to a game if there was no checking, or there was no possibility of the players getting into a fight? I would to say not many of you and this is why the violence will stay in hockey. violence or the possibility of violence is what sells the tickets and is what makes it worth spending the big money. They play a less violent form of hockey in Europe, and for years we have forced their players to become more aggressive if they wanted to play professionally in the NHL, instead of following their lead and making the game less violent. I would ask you then, if we the fans, coaches, owners and media demand fast pace hockey, checking, fighting, is it fair of us to ask for legal recourse when a hit, or a fight goes bad. Should not the rule be that the stick not be allowed to leave the ice unless the player is taking a shot period, end of story. the game is far to fast and far to emotional to expect a player to stop in mid stride and not hit too hard, or to never do an illegal hit. if we could count on them doing that there would be no need for referees and linesman. The sad truth is that we the fan, the owner, the coach, the media, are just as responsible every time something goes wrong on the ice from a hit or, a fight and one of those young men gets hurt as a result of it as the player doing the hitting and no amount of us tying to look anti hurt after the fact will change this fact.
First there was an attempt to improve the equipment so that the violence could remain in the game and less player would be seriously hurt. Then hockey changed the size requirement of a player hoping to play in the NHL, removing the smaller more skillful player, more likely to get hurt from the rough play of the game and left the big guys hoping that their size would lessen their chance of getting hurt and while making the its seem harder. When this did not work hockey started to fine and suspend players for doing what they pay them to do secretly and that is to do whatever it takes to win. Now hockey has decided that it will get he police and the courts involved in the game. It has decided to let the police decide when a player is guilty of going to far and I say this is ridiculous and hypocritical as well as self-serving. I say unless the league ends all violence in hockey and states that no form of violence will be tolerated in hockey from this point forward, then the league should be held as criminally responsible as the player it hired to do the violence. You can not hire a hitman and when the hit goes bad and he exposes you involvement in the crime expect not to be found as guilty as he who pulled the trigger.
I think it is time to put the blame and the responsibility legally for the violence directly where it belongs and that is on all of the people who make the rules and the profit selling the violence. these owners are ultimately the ones who determine what is allowed in the game. If it were me as a player I would have stopped playing aggressively with the 1st case of police involvement and the leagues saying they agreed another player should be prosecuted. Some cases of foul, dirty playing are really bad I know, but hockey has been turned into a dirty game, by the desire of the owners to turn a bigger profit off of the game’s fans, increasing need and insatiable lust to see violence and brutal hits. I think that the players in this instance are damned if they do and damned if they don’t, but they should not be facing the legal ramifications alone.
Go to any little league game and watch the coaches and hockey parents scream and encourage the kids to check and even fight other children. It is here that we train and teach them what they must do if they want a career I hockey. Now it would seem that these little guys, now big pros need a legal degree and an iron clad deal that states that under no circumstance will a player be arrested, or charged under the criminal code for harm done to another player while playing the game and another clause stating that a player knows that there is a risk to his person and very life, playing the game of hockey and therefore will not seek remedy through the courts, or any other remedy not provided for by the NHL. An old adage comes to mind for the fans, the coaches, the owners and the media, “be careful of what you wish for, because it just might come to pass.”
- Montreal Police Are Nuts to Investigate an NHL Hockey Check (usnews.com)
- Cam Cole: NHL GMs missed the mark on head shots (sports.nationalpost.com)