Sunday, 3 April 2016
This competitive level minor hockey game is another example of how dangerous the game can be as was the case during a Midget A championship match at the Arthur J. Leblanc Centre in Dieppe. A team from North York had just tied the game when all hell broke loose. While the cross checks to the head and fighting were not bad enough, a linesman fell to the ice and could have easily had a finger(s) sliced by a skate. Had the referees stepped in, regardless of protocol, this situation would most certainly not have gotten out of control to the extent it did. Two guys throwing a couple of punchs in a "helmets and gloves" match is one thing but two handed cross checks, to the back of the head, goes way beyond. While we've come to expect some pushing and shoving around the goalie after whistles in a tight game, mindless attacks cannot be tolerated. With today's mindset around concussions, such incidents ocurring at the professional level result in multi-game suspensions and huge fines. If someone attacked you from behind while you were out for a walk, there would be legal consequences for the offenders. So why then, does such behaviour continue to be tolerated in our national sport at the minor hockey level? One fan, while leaving the rink, looked at me with a grin and said; "this is hockey"! From a guy whose played and watched hockey for nearly 50 years, I strongly disagree! There is no respect in hockey today! I played minor hockey with no face mask or mouth guard until my final year, when a full face protector was mandated. I was known as a rough and maybe even considered by some to be a dirty player at times, but I never incurred a head injury or delivered a blow that resulted in one. A broken wrist, dislocated shoulder and screw in my ankle were all injured I endured from a game that can be rough and tough, yet one that I love.