Hockey Dilemmas

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So the hockey world is struggling to decide how to respond to public demands to better protect hockey players from head injuries. Why is it such a difficult decision? Apparently the NHL Commissioner is concerned a total ban on headshots will make the game less action packed and, therefore, less interesting to the fan base. The #1 consideration of the NHL seems to be the amount of money the hockey franchise will make. OMG! I can’t believe money is even a part of the equation when deciding on the appropriate steps to ensure other hockey players aren’t injured and taken out of the game. Surely we’d learn from the permanent brain damage sustained by Sidney Crosby, Eric Lindros and countless other superstar hockey players that there isn’t enough money in the world to justify robbing these young athletes of their health? Why does the game of hockey have to be violent in order to be interesting to fans? In fact, I refuse to watch the game because of the violence. Am I the exception to the rule? Would these NHL fans that love the violence be willing to put their children on the ice rinks and watch them get beaten up … all for the sake of entertainment? Some people argue the NHL players get financially compensated for the safety risks they face. I’d love to ask Wade Belak (NHL player and young father who recently committed suicide) if he feels he was adequately compensated for the depression he suffered as a result of the repeated concussions/head injuries he endured. My second question would be, “If you could do it all over again, would you choose a different career path in light of the way things played out in your life?” Interestingly, hockey registrations at the recreation level are down this Fall. A significant number of parents are clearly deciding the safety risks are too great to warrant enrolling their children in hockey. Shame because the game of hockey can be great fun as long as violence is eradicated from the sport. Where do you stand? Do you think the NHL should ban all headshots? Would the game of hockey be less exciting for you if violence on the ice were stopped?  Do your kids play in a hockey league? If yes, what stance is your local league taking on the issue of violence?

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  • Thank you so much for your comments Pam! I can’t imagine the anxiety it creates when your son places top level hockey. I read an article submitted to the Globe & Mail yesterday about a mom and the stress she feels whenever her son plays hockey too. Sports should relieve stress … not add to them. As well, although accidental injuries can occur, there is no excuse for any injury inflicted intentionally by another player.

    Karyn Climans on
  • I think any and all head contact — and any and all intent to harm — should be banned in the NHL and in all hockey sanctioned by Hockey Canada. Even though the rules have changed, they’re not tough enough. I think penalties should be considerable and send a clear, strong, unequivocal message to players, coaches, officials, owners and fans that there’s zero tolerance for hockey violence. I also think, in the big league, the assault I see on ice should be punishable by law.
    It’s not okay. Period. Not good enough. Players, fans, Canadians — everybody deserves better. Hockey culture has to change. Yesterday.
    My kid plays top level hockey and it really scares me.

    Pam @writewrds on

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