by Lianne Castelino, www.whereparentstalk.com
Yes, I have a huge bee in my bonnet. Actually it's more of an elephant at this point, so bear with me.
The uproar, frustration, analysis over headshots and violent hits in
hockey is on the operating table, being poked, prodded and studied by
anyone and everyone – players of all ages and sizes, coaches, referees,
medical professionals, the C-suite, and parents.
We are all focused on scrutinizing the outcome – concussions – but what about the symptoms?
I'm of the firm belief that the root of this increased violence in
the sport is an inherent lack of respect — for the opponent, for the
game, for each other.
Talk to any NHL oldtimer — and you don't have to go back that many
decades – and they'll likely agree. They played in an error of
strategy, skill and little equipment. It was all about bettering the
opponent within the rules. The fierce competition, physicality, sheer
will to win were not the least bit compromised because of an underlying
More and more though the respect component in hockey is being
eroded. I see it at different levels and it is disturbing. Respect is
being elbowed out by one main culprit – money. It's couched in a
variety of ways of course —- “a win at all costs' attitude, pandering
to companies/corporations who write paychecks or provide funds, a
greater emphasis on entertainment to sell tickets and the ever-famous
parent/coach/staff member who is living vicariously through their kids/players.
Parents should be concerned. Minor hockey associations should be concerned. The NHL should be concerned.
Respect takes a long time to earn and very little time to lose.
There are plenty of respectful people playing, coaching and
supporting hockey at all age levels, capabilities and leagues. They
should be applauded for their conduct. The professionals though set the
bar. A flagrant cheap shot, headshot, bodycheck is a blatant lack of
respect – period. The trickle down effect is well underway whether we
want to believe it or not.
I really don't see what else needs to be analyzed here.
Imagine for a second what a violent check in hockey looks like. Pick
one – Zdeno Chara on Max Pacioretty, Matt Cooke on (fill in the
blank). Now imagine the same hit with neither player wearing
equipment. Different perspective, powerful point.
At the end of the day, it's about how we treat each other — at
home, in the rink, in our cars, on the street. Anything outside of
respectful conduct, is simply an excuse, and a cheap one at that.
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