The Good Ol’ Hockey Game

Overtime Faceoff
Overtime at hockey

This season, I got 1/2 a season-ticket pack, thanks to Jen & Neil‘s absconding off to the UK. Which has been really great. I love the privilege of getting to see these guys live on a regular basis. Even Leah likes going, which is a total bonus. Excuses for extra nights out with here are good.

But as a result of watching more live hockey, I’ve had a couple of thoughts, triggered from ongoing thoughts about fights, injuries and concussions in sports (Maybe not all sports: but two that I love: hockey & football. But even Baseball seems to have similar issues).

I don’t like hockey fights, but I admit to being caught up in the moment at a game sometimes when a fight breaks out after a dirty hit on a star player. At a certain level, I completely understand the need to protect your star players in such a brutish way. But that enthusiasm fades in moments. And then I keep thinking about there’s lots of talk about how to “clean up” hockey (which, amazingly for modern sports, isn’t referring to drugs: it’s referring to dangerous plays & fights). So here’s my idea, harsh as they may be:

  1. Fights: as every telecast reminds viewers, the NHL owns the rights to that telecast. They could simply dictate the telecasts cannot show fights & that fights are not allowed to be used in sports-highlight packages. Would this end fights? Not immediately. But by removing them from mainstream view, it would lessen the “glory” of a fight. I suspect that there would be less fights. If getting into a fight guarantees that your not going to be on TV, every rookie tough guy would think twice: for many, it’s their only opportunity. Make hockey highlights about the play, not the extraneous stuff.
  2. Injuries: This one’s harsh. On any play where a major penalty is assessed AND there’s an injury on the play, the offending players is automatically suspended a minimum of 2 games. Regardless of time of year. In addition, if the victim is injured, and cannot play, the offending player cannot play again until the injured player returns to the ice. The suspension, however long it is starts at that point. There should likely be an upper-limit in the case of career ending injuries. Perhaps a full season, including playoffs. &, perhaps to prevent “gaming” this, by having a role-player be “injured” to keep an opposing team’s “star” off the ice, the evaluation of ready-to-play status needs to come from the NHL/NHLPA, not just the team.

The Great Canadian Ultimate Game

On Saturday night I participated in the Great Canadian Ultimate Game, a 25-hour, cross-Canada ultimate relay organized by Ultimate Canada where players in 23 communities across the country each played a single ultimate game to raise money for 2 really worthy charities, Right To Play and Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada. The Vancouver leg was scheduled to run from 10-11pm at Andy Livingstone field. I showed up expecting the game to be played much like a lot of pick-up ultimate is played – sort-of half-assed, with a lot of hucking, and not terribly serious. Boy was I wrong! Instead it was highly-skilled, hard-fought and really spirited, in the best of ways. I played on Team Red, representing Right to Play. In our particular leg, Team Red beat Team White 13-11. However, after the final leg, played from 11pm-midnight in Surrey, Team White won the overall game, 253-251.

The game was setup so that each player donated at least $10, and then the charities would receive the money in a 60-40 split. While the total funds raised isn’t known yet, it should be around $7000. A great amount for the inaugural year of this fundraiser. I certainly hope that this will become an annual event where we can raise even more money and awareness.

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