Fine line between dirty and dangerous
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This news article goes on at length about Niklas Kronwall steamrolling Chicago's Martin Havlat in the NHL 2009 playoffs with a hit that was considered clean. It talks about how a shoulder to the face is considered a clean hit and goes into great detail about the opinions of the coaches and players. The coach of the offending player was very gung ho about "physicality" in hockey and considers Kronwall, who is notorious for his aggressive hits, "a clean player". What does it mean though, when a player who continually hits to the head causing concussions is considered clean?
The coach of Halvat, Randy Carlyle, suggests the hit was deserving of a penalty, but for the most part there is no debate over wether or not brutal violence should not be considered a center part of the sport.
This is obviously a way of thinking that is relevant to our sports here at this school. As the top level of play in hockey (and a strong influence on other sports as well) we have to be aware of the examples being set. If violence is tolerated, even promoted, in the NHL; what does that teach our sports teams about fair play and attitudes, on or off the ice? From a very young age we are always told to share and play nice and respect each other...but what of it if there is nobody practicing what they preach? The corporate world is surely not a place to learn sharing and cooperation, but sports are even more powerful. Star athletes are what many young children look up to and set the bar for. We cannot encourage cooperation and respect in our society if we do not practice it ourselves.
Personally I think that all unnecessary violence should be banned from sports. Sure it's a sports culture thing and sure it's a masculinity thing... But violence is not what we stand for in our society so it should not be what we stand for in sports either. I believe that if we are complaining about unfairness in this world and that change is so impossible, then maybe we should be having a closer look at what we are teaching our children.
Violence in Hockey has been around for quite some time and is protected strongly by the type of people who enjoy that violence. If we are to celebrate Hockey as a true sport and if we wish to teach the next generation cooperation and respect, then violence in Hockey must no longer be tolerated.