Regarding the McSorley trial

What do you think about violence in hockey? Even (or especially) if you don't watch/like hockey, I'd really like to know what you think.

Regarding Marty McSorley: I don't think he should be convicted of assult, nor should he even have been charged. Of course he shouldn't have injured Brashear like that, but that's a side-effect of how the game works today, so it's not fair to him to charge him -- it's just as much a blindsided action as his slash.

Here's a good article related to the trial:

NHL hasn't learned its lesson -- "If you banned fighting, as other civilized sports have done, there would be no need for teams to employ goons. It would open spots on the roster for real hockey players, who don't regard goal as just a dirty four-letter word."

My opinion of fighting in the NHL changed, last night. Until last night, I believed fighting was a necessary part of the game, necessary for two reasons:

1) Goons protect skilled players from being run at.

2) Fighting (as an outlet for anger) prevents other more serious infractions like stickwork and hitting from behind.

Both of those are true in today's NHL.

However, remove the goons and give much bigger fines and suspensions for dirty-play and:

1) You won't need the skilled players to be protected like that.

2) People who use stickwork and other dirty play will be GONE from the game.

What made me change my mind?


I was watching a New Zealand Rugby match last night. Rugby is very agressive sport, to say the least. However, I saw no thuggery, dirty play, or serious violence.

How can it be that some very agresssive sports can avoid horrific violence, fighting and dirty-play, and hockey can't? There is no reason, no excuse. Hockey players have just been raised to be dirty and mean. (with apologies to Wayne Gretzky and a few other great NHL players who were not)

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'd like to see fighting banned, and massive fines and suspensions for stickwork (slashing, intentional high-sticking, spearing, etc) and dirty-play (checking from behind, kneeing, etc) to clean up the sport.

It's time to bring new respectability to hockey.

PS: Some irony: Wayne Gretzky appeared in the courtroom during the McSorley trial in support of his former teammate. He didn't take the stand. What does Wayne Gretzky think about fighting? I honestly can't remember if he's answered that before.

Written on October 2, 2000