English / Violence In Hockey

Violence In Hockey

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Autor:  anton  28 December 2010
Tags:  Violence,  Hockey
Words: 2116   |   Pages: 9
Views: 268

Hockey has always been known to be a physical sport; it is full of body checks, hits from behind, sometimes the misuse of the hockey stick, and even fights. Now all off these are deemed acceptable by hockey fans to a certain extent. When a player swings his stick at another player and an injury occurs to the opposing man the instigator can usually expect to be penalized for a short amount of time, maybe even a suspension from the team for a few games. But when does this violent act on the ice become a criminal offence? Does it take for the recipient to break his neck, or maybe even loose his vision for us to take a serious look at what happened and realize that this is not what we are looking to watch when we sit down to watch a game. It seems that in order for us to take a look at it from a legal standpoint there needs to be a serious injury, when there are some things that aren’t being taken as serious as they maybe should be.

One of the more popular examples of this is the very recent Todd Bertuzzi case. In this case the defendant who is Todd Bertuzzi being charged with assault causing bodily harm. On the night of March 8th, 2004 in Vancouver, Bertuzzi wished to seek revenge on the plaintiff Steven Moore, after a so called “cheap shot”, which Steve Moore hit Bertuzzi’s teammate Markus Naslund with an elbow in a previous game. Late in the hockey game Bertuzzi proceeded to skate up behind Moore and grabbed his shoulder and ‘sucker punched’ Moore in the side of the head, Moore then fell to the ice while a pile-up of players fell on top of him. Moore suffered fractured vertebrae, nerve damage, and a concussion. Right away this was being looked at by Vancouver Police Officials and the decision was whether or not this should be viewed from a legal standpoint. Arguments went back and forth with opinions after opinions.

The first actions that were taken were from the NHL. They chose to suspend Bertuzzi indefinitely and a fine was sent down. Steve Moore decided to press charges and open up a civil lawsuit against Bertuzzi. The lawsuit that was filed accused Bertuzzi of civil conspiracy, assault, battery, and negligence. Bertuzzi plead guilty to these crimes, but did receive a discharge and would spend no time in jail, nor would he record a criminal record for this case. Today Bertuzzi has resumed his NHL career with the Vancouver Canucks, and Steve Moore is still recovering from his neck injury.

Now in this case Todd Bertuzzi and Steve Moore were both playing a game, the game was hockey. Both players knew the rules and they know that if they do not abide by them they would be penalized. Bertuzzi chose to act on behalf of his teammate and take actions into his own hands by breaking these rules. He broke them in such a severe way that off rink legal action had to be taken. Now, does this mean that every time a player is hit from behind legal action needs to take place. I feel that it is against the rules and would not be tolerated on the streets that maybe we do need to look at events like these from a legal standpoint, if that is the only way to prevent them. Players need to recognize that when they hit someone outside the rules that something bad could happen and that is a lawsuit.

Hockey is a sport, a sport where the objective is to score more goals then the opposing team. For no reason are you to go around with intent to injure your fellow employees. When you break the rules you must be ready to face the repercussions that you will be faced with.

Another on ice incident that took place was former Boston Bruins forward Marty McSorley who on the night of February 21st swung his stick shamelessly at Vancouver forward Donald Brashear. Brashear fell to the ice convulsing. Brashear missed the next six weeks of the season due a mild concussion, and memory lapse, and McSorley was suspended the rest of the season plus playoffs and landed a hefty fine. To this day Brashear still says he has no recollection of the events that took place that night. It was a terrible sight and there was no need for the act to have taken place. It left a dark spot on hockey for a long time.

McSorley was charged with assault with a weapon causing bodily harm. The decision was a no brainer and he was found guilty of this crime. However he would not have to serve any jail time for this and he would rid himself of a criminal record if he completed 18 months of probation. I would say the punishment does not fit the crime. Donald Brashear suffered a set back in his hockey career and McSorley whose career was some what coming to an end. In a perfect world the case would be tried fairly as if an everyday average Joe was hit over the head with a hockey stick and his attacker would serve jail time.

This is another incident where the athlete got off easy. If he was not an athlete and this would have taken place in a beer league I see a much different out come from the judge. No jail time for something as brutal as this is ridiculous but those are the breaks that you may receive as a professional athlete.

Players commented on the McSorley - Brashear incident, saying that worse things do happen on the ice, but they do not get the exposure or punishment that they should receive. Just because the recipient does not break a bone, or fall unconscious does not mean that the same procedures with court should not happen. This is the reason why these things continue to happen because no action is being taken. Whenever a player hits another player on purpose with his stick he should immediately be subjected to a court hearing, it shouldn’t matter whether the player is injured or not. The fact of the matter is the player intended on injuring his opponent when he shouldn’t because that is not in the job description. They need to hammer this into the athletes’ heads, even if you are doing it to protect another teammate, retaliation cannot be stood for no matter what.

When you step on the rink you should only have one thing on your mind and that is to win. There is no reason for anyone in any professional sport to go onto the playing surface with intention to injure someone else out there. They do not get paid to hurt people they get paid to play the game just like teachers get paid to teach. When the players drop the gloves they do that knowing they are subjected to injury, however that is a part of the game that is against the rules and could result in an injury but both players are aware of what is going on. A sucker punch or a stick over the head only has one of the players aware of what is happening and leaves the other one subjected to major injuries.

Stick swinging seems to be one of the favoured ‘cheap’ shots in the hockey. There are many reoccurring happenings of this offence and it needs to be stopped. It happens more then we hear about because we only hear about the major ones where the receiving player obtains a mild injury. The normal penalty for stick swinging is a minor suspension but no legal action is taking place for these minor offences. In order to cut down on these things need to be done.

The most recent happening of the stick swinging variety occurred in the American Hockey League (AHL). Hamilton Bulldogs player Alexander Perezhogin rapidly swung his stick at Cleveland Barons defenceman Garret Stafford and hit him in the face. Stafford began to convulse on the ice and suffered a third degree concussion and he also required twenty stitches to his face. This was a retaliation hit from Perezhogin because earlier in the game Stafford laid out Perezhogin. Perezhogin was suspended the rest of the season, plus the next. Perezhogin was charged with assault causing bodily harm.

This may have been one of the more vicious attacks out of al of them. It seemed he really lashed out of his opponent with a baseball like swing striking him in the face. It was not necessary at all to take those kinds of actions even if he hit you earlier in the game. When you are put into a scenario like that the average human would not take the opportunity to swing at a fellow competitor. This was one of the things that could have and should have been prevented, it has not place in the hockey arena or anywhere for that matter.

The very first known incident of this type of mauling happened in 1969 in a pre season game between the Boston Bruins and the St. Louis Blues during a pre season game. Ted Green and Wayne Maki got into a bit of a scruff but decided they were not going to drop the sticks; they were going to use them as a weapon. The began swinging notoriously at each other with the sticks only landing some ‘soft’ shots, but when the first hard hit was made by Make it sent Green right to the ice. Both players were brought to court for there duel were both charged but later acquitted from the assault charges. Make suffered a brain tumor which ended his hockey career then his life; some speculate that the stick fight played a role in the tumor.

Now this is violence on the ice taken to a max. You would never expect two professional players to start swinging their hockey sticks at one another. It does not make any sense what so ever that neither of them would have to serve any jail time for this or even be charged. It seems they did not serve any sort of punishment other then the injuries they obtained from the fight. Something should have been done with these guys and they should have never been able to play in the NHL again.

Hockey is not a sport of violence, physical yes. Clean hits are alright, but the dirty hits should not be tolerated. They say that they will not allow cheap hits but for some reason a lot of the time they go unpunished. When a player swings his stick at another un expecting player they should immediately be looked at for criminal investigation. It is just not right that players get away with things like this when they shouldn’t because it is against the rules and ultimately illegal in our legal system. More offences like these should be taken a closer look at because a lot of them could stand up in our court of laws. Also a tougher punishment is needed for these guys, it seems they all get acquitted from their wrong doings when they maybe they should be serving time in jail. It seems they are always drawing the easy hand in the deck and getting the soft way out. Even with the NHL punishments, they are all stern and solid at first but after appeals from the players they always seem to get back into the game and playing.

When the judge is looking at these cases he needs to look at it from a strict legal standpoint. He cannot take it easier on the guy because he has a big profile and is a hockey player. We can not sit while they get off the hook with a slap on the wrist and a fine. When a crime is committed on the ice it should be taken like it is committed on the street, it should not matter whether it is a game or not, these are peoples lives here and I think it is time we start looking at it more seriously.



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