This writer will be the first to admit that sports are not her forte; yet, there has always been some kind of allure to the world of hockey. Something about a pack of grown men furiously skating on ice in pounds of padding while hitting each other, and sometimes the puck, with giant sticks is oddly captivating. While baseball, football, and even basketball can bore this writer to tears, hockey never fails to bring something interestign to the table, especially when it comes to fights. As in the knock-down, drag-em-out fist fights that only hockey can provide.
The National Hockey League (NHL), however, seems to want to throw a wrench in this epic, bloody tradition that almost seems inseparable from the sport, itself. Perhaps fear of violence from angry players prompted the NHL to refrain from outright banning fighting, and instead take a more roundabout, somewhat strange approach; players must keep their helmets on when they fight, at risk of a two minute penalty minor.
It took only a few games before some players found a way around this rule; instead of removing their own helmets, which would have invoked the wrath of the penalty, the two exchanged words and then proceeded to remove one another's helmets. Footage of the event can be found below.
Frank Darras, one of the NHL's lawyers, seems a bit exasperated concerning the loopholes players have fund and proceeded to sneak through. He was quoted as saying, on the topic of the instance in the video above, "The problem with this kind of behavior is that players are forgetting why these rules were put there in the first place – their own safety. And perhaps, to protect the NHL from a lawsuit similar to the one recently brought by players in the NFL. Truthfully, concussions and other injuries are a serious problem in hockey. Players lose control and don’t realize the long-term effects years of fighting have on their health."
It will be interesting to see how the "helmet rule" pans out in the long run, and if it has any positive effect on keeping players safe when they decide it's time to duke it out over that hunk of black plastic.[Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.]