I came across this story this morning.
[quote]As a rookie defenseman for the Whitby Dunlops, a storied amateur hockey team in this Toronto suburb, Donald Sanderson impressed his teammates as a passionate and intense competitor. . .
Sanderson died Jan. 2 of injuries he sustained when he hit his head after falling to the ice during a fight Dec. 12. He was in a coma for three weeks. It was his fourth fight in 11 games with the Dunlops, a highly competitive amateur team of players 21 and older. Although in many ways, the accident appeared to be a fluke — Sanderson’s helmet became dislodged during the scuffle and the players fell to the ice together — his death has led to headlines across Canada and revived a longstanding debate over what role, if any, fighting should play in hockey. . . [/quote]
nytimes.com/2009/01/20/sport … ml?_r=1&em
The story mentions that different leagues have different rules about fighting and it claims fighting is uncommon in certain realms of the sport, but that’s all BS. Everyone knows fighting is a major part of the sport. I have always thought that’s too bad.
It’s not that I’m worried about potential deaths and serious injuries. Not at all. And I don’t think I’m being a weenie. I just learned in the sports that I’ve done over the years, that a good athlete in whatever sport will excel at the the sport, seek to win, but comply with the rules and be a good sport. The goal is to show fitness, prowess, technical mastery and to win, but not to hurt or demean others.
I’ve only played ice hockey a few times (on a pond as a kid), but I would think a great hockey player would excel at skating well and fast, handling the puck well and scoring goals. That kind of stuff. And the player who is always getting in fights, in my mind, should be seen as a loser, a failure, a poor sport, and should be scorned by the crowd and seriously reprimanded, disciplined and eventually thrown off the team by the coach.
It’s not that I’m a weenie who is opposed to violence. I think boxing and MMA and such sports are great. I have no qualms with them at all. But hockey isn’t supposed to be about fistfights. It’s supposed to be about scoring goals. Isn’t it?
Incidentally, I was a wrestler for many years and in wrestling the rules, ethics and goodsportsmanship are held in extremely high regard. The kind of crap that goes on in hockey (and basketball to a lesser extent) would not be tolerated at all – by fans, teammates, coaches or refs. I don’t know why it’s different in hockey – why such losers are so widely tolerated, but it’s too bad as it tarnishes what could otherwise be a great sport.