What's wrong with hockey

On the Yahoo! Sports NHL page tonight was an image of the late Wade Belak, headlined, "Heartbreaking Loss." The caption to the image linked to a story labeled "Beloved by fans, players."

On the same page tonight was a story about Marc Savard, headlined "Game Over," with a link noting that he's "unikely to play" this season, or indeed ever again.

I don't mean what I'm about to say as an indictment against Belak, or any of the other unfortunate recently departed NHL "tough guys." I also don't mean it to defend their actions as players, or the choices they made.

I mean to say only this. Hockey needs to reconsider its relationship to violence.

There is natural violence in hockey. Players skate at high speeds and, in the course of game play, run into and hit one another in pursuit of the objectives of the game: scoring goals, and preventing goals. 

But there is a non-natural violence that hockey all too often encourages. This is the violence unrelated to the objectives of the sport, and that are too often lauded by people related to the game, from coaches, to players, to fans, to commentators. (In my personal opinion, all fighting, and all head-shots, fall into this category.)

It is imperative to hockey's future, and to the future health of players, to reconsider what kinds of violence are natural and even essential to the sport, and what kinds are not. And to rule absolutely out of the game those that are not. 

I'm sorry to say that most of what I remember about Wade Belak involves the latter. I'm even sorrier to say that the most important thing I remember about Marc Savard is as well.

The content expressed in fanposts does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the staff here at FanPosts are opinions expressed by fans of various teams throughout the league but may be more Pittsburgh-centric for obvious reasons.

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join PensBurgh

You must be a member of PensBurgh to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at PensBurgh. You should read them.

Join PensBurgh

You must be a member of PensBurgh to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at PensBurgh. You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.