"There is definitely more
of a violent culture associated with hockey," says hockey player
To be sure, hockey is a contact sport. Checking, or physically blocking opponents by hitting them with the body, is a necessary part of the sport.
It is also a sport where fist fights between the two teams happen during games, and there are even fans who attend games, anxious to see a good fight.
But what happens when the intense
hitting and checking in hockey go wrong?
Travis Roy, a promising freshman at division-1 NCAA school Boston University, was also left paralyzed for life after careening into the boards headfirst during the first eleven seconds of his first college hockey game ever. The incident inspired Travis to write a memoir, entitled Eleven Seconds. The book's being made into a film by the same name.
In professional hockey, Boston
Bruin Marty McSorley was charged in a court of law with assault with a
weapon, for an attack on Vancouver Canucks winger Donald Brashear.
McSorley hit Brashear in the head with his hockey stick during a February, 2000 game because, according to McSorley, he wanted to fight with Brashear. Brashear could be considered lucky-- he suffered a concussion, but was not paralyzed. McSorley is scheduled to stand trial September 25th.
These incidents have caused
the hockey community, legal system officials, and the sports media to
debate whether the sport of hockey is, by nature, too violent.
"Hockey is incredibly dangerous even when played fairly," Telander writes. "But hockey players and their apologists insist when it happens in their game, hey, it's just a tough sport and not that big a deal."
"Complain about the established NHL etiquette of fist-fighting -- the hideous squaring off, the refs circling the battling goons until one or both combatants fall to the ice or are noticeably injured -- and hockey guys say, ah, you sissy, you don't understand the game."
What, then, can be done about the violent nature of the sport?
The debate over hockey violence
has caused some antagonists to go as far as to say that hockey, as a sport,
should be banned.