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Human beings and driven by emotions that originate from deep within them. Rage is one of the emotional responses that individuals have while responding to an incident or a situation (Andrews 21). In the process of expressing their rage, humans usually turn out to violence or violent like behaviors.
Violence from rage can arise in a number of situations. Violence experienced in homes, public places, recreation areas and even in sports. A number of incidences have been reported regarding to the eruption of violence in the course of a game. This is highly common in rugby, basketball, football, and soccer.
However, violence is a unique phenomenon in a sport. This sport is ice hockey. Ice hockey is one of the popular indoor games in the United States of America and Canada. The game attracts huge crowds of fans from these two nations as well as the rest of the world who follow the game.
Crowds enjoy the fast pace of the game and the skills and techniques that players use to score and win matches. In addition to this, fans also enjoy the eruption of violence between players who fight to settle down any differences that may have risen between them. Due to this, hockey has always been regarded as one of the aggressive sports in the where violence is condoned.
Violence in Hockey
Violence has been an integral part of ice hockey. Due to its importance in the game and the impact that it has, violence has developed into a strong culture of the game that has been passed from one generation to the next. Violence in hockey commence during the first half of the 20th century (Andrews 32). According to Andrews (2003), 1904 saw the death of 4 players in hockey games as a result of the violence and brawls (71).
This was but just an introduction of violence and violent related acts into the game. In modern times, violence has erupted in the game under numerous occasions. The most common causes of violence in the game arise from brawls. Violence also erupts as a result from the end point of fans. In addition to this, fights also come about as a result of officials being physically abused and players deliberately injuring each other.
There are rules and regulations that have been developed to control the game of hockey. According to these rules, any form of violence is prohibited. Should violence occur, the individuals who are involved in the fight and to some extent, their clubs suffer penalties (Andrews 67).
This may include fines and suspension from playing games. Thus, acts such as kicking opponents from behind or inappropriate swinging of sticks are prohibited. In addition to this, fisticuffs are also penalized. However, this is the most common form of violence in hockey. However, players and fans of the game consider this form of violence to be so exciting.
To some extent, some of these individuals feel that violence is part of the game. According to many people, fisticuffs is an effective means through which rival players of opposing teams can settle down any differences that might have been present between them.
Thus, to regulate the violence and other violent acts in the game, several rules and regulations have been developed. In course of the game, the referees usually implement these rules. Thus, a referee has the power to penalize players who are involved in violent acts in the course of the game.
The punishment that a referee chooses to take depends on the degree of violence. However, the power that referees have is limited. Off the game, the National Hockey League (NHL) controls the acts actions of player. This includes their involvement in violence. The NHL thus has the power to conduct investigation, charge or even convict players on the grounds of being involved in violence.
The NHL also has the power to fine, suspend and even expel players as a result of their violent behaviors. Usually, these decisions are arrived at after careful investigations and considerations have been put on the matter at hand. The picture below shows linemen separating players from a fight.
History of Violence in Hockey
Even during its early days, hockey has been considered as a violent sport. During the early years of the sport, violence was a common phenomenon in the game. It was until after the death of two players that stiff measures were put in place to minimize the occurrence of violence and violent acts in the sport.
To show cause, the individuals who had been responsible for the murders were taken to trial. However, despite the efforts that were put to bring these people into justice, the accused were all acquitted of their crimes. Despite this decision however, setting up of stiff rules and regulation was considered a necessity as the game faced a risk of being banned. This would have put hockey on the levels of sports such as cockfighting.
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The rules and regulations that have been set by the NHL have greatly reduced the occurrence of violence in hockey games. However, there are incidences in which players and/or fans engage in fisticuffs and stick-swinging inflicting pain and injury to others. In such events, stiff punishments in the form of fines, suspensions have been arrived at after careful investigations have taken place.
Up to the present moment, only one individual has ever been banned for life from hockey. During a Stanley Cup game, Billy Coutu assaulted one referee and tackled another one (Andrews 133).
In addition to this, Coutu started off a bench clearing brawl. After an investigation of the issue, Coutu was banished for life by the president of the NHL in 1927. However, after consultations, the ban was lifted by the NHL two and a half years later although Coutu never played again. Several other incidences of this nature have been reported in recent times.
Violence in hockey does not only occur in the NHL alone. Fights also break out in lower leagues. A prime example is the fight that broke out on August 1st 2012 in Texas, USA (Moore 11). The fight erupted in an adult hockey game when a player hit his opponent with a hockey stick on the face.
Due to the severity of the injury, paramedics were called to the scene to save the life of the victim. Witnesses stated that the act was deliberate since the assailant swung the hockey stick straight into the victims face in a similar manner as one would swing a baseball bat. The case is still under investigation.
On the other hand, there are those people who support violence in hockey. The acquisition of John Scott by the Buffalo Sabres is a prime example (Palumbo 13). Being close of 7 feet tall and weighing over 270 pounds, Scott is regarded as one of the best fighters in the league. It has been speculated that the Sabres acquired Scott as an intimidation measure. The Sabres have been facing a lot of intimidation especially from their rivals, the Boston Bruins.
The Sabres have been facing a lot of criticism from the media and the public on the grounds of cowardice. The team has been criticized for failing to respond to concussions that have always been arising against them.
As a result, the onetime proud franchise has been struggling with humiliation especially during the last season. It is therefore believed that with a player like Scott, the team will respond to such situation. This will not only intimidate their opponents but it will also motivate and boost the morale of other players leading to increased victories and a shot at the national championship.
At the present moment, the level of fighting during hockey games has greatly reduced. This might be as a result of the strict implementation of the rules and regulations against fighting. On the other hand, the number of concussions has greatly increased. However, unlike fights, concussions usually arise accidentally. However, investigations are already underway to establish the causes of concussions and means through which they can be regulated to improve on the quality of the game.
Hockey has always been regarded as one of the most violent sports on the planet. As a result of these violent acts, a number of individuals have ended up with serious injuries while other have ended up dead. To intervene, the NHL has come up with rules, regulations, and different forms of punishments. This has tried to reduce the level of violence in the sport although violent incidences do arise occasionally.
Andrews, Lamar. Violence: Not Part of Youth Hockey. New York: Sage Publications, 2003. Print
Moore, Marcus. “Violence ends North Texas Hockey.” KHOU 3.2 (2012): 9-14. Print
Palumbo, Lenny. “Fighting is Good for Hockey and Sabres.” The Sports Journal, 12.1 (2012): 13-15. Print