While I'm an avid sports fan I have not talked about sports in this space, that isn't what I started this blog for, however the issue of fighting in hockey is a subject I can no longer ignore.
I played the game for decades until my knees made it impossible to continue, I was never a great skater so my ticket to play organised hockey even as a youth was my physicality. My specialty was convincing opposing players that the front of the net was a place they didn't want to be, so a shrinking violet I am not.
Yes there was a time when I celebrated fighting as an integral component of the game and there was indeed such a time when it was, but that no longer holds true. There is no longer a policing or safety valve component to today's brand of fighting It has become a side show.
Gone are the days when the specter of having to drop the gloves to account for ones actions kept things in check, now If a player cheap shots an opponent out comes each team's designated goons who proceed to engage in a side show that detracts from the game.
How many times have we seen these guys drop the gloves merely to justify their existence with the fight having no relevance to the game being played, a sideshow in other words. Then there are the consequences.
As we saw in the season opener in a fight that had no context within an exciting game George Parros was seriously hurt and while serious injury is the exception not the rule in these staged fights we now know that CTE doesn't require a history of concussions to inflict it's damage but rather consistent head trauma of the type inflicted by punches to the head as we see in fights.
The NHL wants us to believe that their ban on removing helmets in a fight addresses this but it does not. Helmet or not the brain will still slosh around in the skull causing trauma. So given what we now know about brain trauma the argument that fighting is an important part of the game can no longer under any circumstances be justified.
So we can side with that buffoon Cherry or we can join forces with some of the best minds in hockey such as Scotty Bowman, Steve Yzerman, Ray Shero and Jim Rutherford in their call for a clamp down on fighting