Hockey and the fighting debate -

Hockey and the fighting debate

The sport’s most stubborn ritual forces the conversation on the NHL’s opening night


Ryan Remiorz/CP

“The shame on this game continues.”—the Toronto Star‘s Damien Cox, after Montreal Canadiens’ tough guy George Parros suffered a concussion after a fight with Maple Leafs enforcer Colton Orr

Hockey is a frustrating sport when someone is knocked out cold on the ice. A body that looks lifeless, even if it isn’t, always gives pause. When that body hits the ice after a fight, one of the game’s most stubbornly routine rituals, that pause is never enough. Always, after every head injury caused by a tilt, there follows a debate about fighting’s place in the game.

This morning, Montreal Canadiens’ tough guy George Parros begins to recover from a concussion he suffered last night after a fight with Toronto Maple Leafs enforcer Colton Orr. The hockey season is barely a day old, and couldn’t we have watched just a few more games before fighting once again stole the mic and beat it to a bloody pulp? Of course not. Hockey is a fighting sport.

Players respect enforcers. Enforcers stand up for teammates. Fights settle scores. Concussions happen. “Players are going to get hurt taking a hit, taking shots, they’re going to get hurt battling in corners, it’s the nature of the business,” said Canadiens’ defenceman Josh Gorges, who was effusive in his praise for the league’s tough guys. In the other dressing room, the Maple Leafs’ Nazem Kadri pledged allegiance to Parros and Orr. “You need those enforcers to kind of patrol the ice and keep everything in order,” he said.

The Toronto Star‘s Damien Cox and the the National Post‘s Bruce Arthur and The Globe and Mail‘s Sean Gordon and James Mirtle and the CBC’s Tim Wharnsby all wrote about fighting this morning, and they all sounded so tired of whatever conversation will happen next about the evils or virtues of on-ice scraps, and probably they’ll have to do it all again in a few weeks. From these dispatches and so many others, two truths emerge: Fighting is a part of hockey. Everybody hates an injury. How those two things can co-exist with some semblance of harmony might be impossible to resolve. But, hey, maybe we’ll get a few clean games before the next patch of bloody ice.


What’s above the fold

The Globe and Mail The U.S. government remains partially shut down.
National Post Much of the U.S. government remains functional during the shutdown.
Toronto Star Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s apparent associate, Sandro Lisi, was arrested.
Ottawa Citizen The defence department claims no bugs were found at its new Ottawa HQ.
CBC News There’s no end in sight to the partial shutdown of the U.S. government.
CTV News The partial shutdown could last for weeks, if pessimistic predictions hold.
National Newswatch Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s summer retreat cost taxpayers $16,000.

What you might have missed

THE NATIONAL Charbonneau. Ken Pereira, a former union executive in the Quebec construction industry, told the province’s corruption inquiry that his old boss—fellow union exec Jocelyn Dupuis—shared close relationships with the Mob and the Hells Angels. Pereira says mobster Raynald Desjardins, with whom Dupuis was close, actually ran the union.
THE GLOBAL Golden Dawn. Dozens of members of Greece’s third most popular political party were arrested by Greek anti-terror police in connection with the death of young rapper Pavlos Fissas in September. Among those arrested were party leader Nikolaos Mihaloliakos. Four other men defiantly entered court as their supporters cheered them on.
THE QUIRKY Vorarephilia. A man known only as Stephen baffled researchers when he walked into Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and asked for help with a strange condition: a desire to be eaten. The 45-year-old man was not psychotic, researchers said, and he was even “pleasant” and “cooperative.” But they almost never see patients with such strange fetishes.


Hockey and the fighting debate

  1. Montreal Canadians
    It’s Canadiens. That stubborn auto-correct/spell check can sometimes cause problems… It’s happened to me too.

    • Oh, that is embarrassing. You’ll note it was spelled correctly elsewhere in the post, which isn’t even close to an excuse.

  2. From Gladiators to middle ages jousting matches to MMA to hockey…there are those who will pay to see a good fight and know who is the toughest. This could not happen if there were not many men who are quite happy to take a million bucks a year to trade fists with other tough guys. Nobody is forcing them into this trade of hockey, boxing or MMA. Perhaps you might yearn for humanity to evolve from this barbarism but if Star Trek is any gauge, there will always be Klingons amonst us. Change the channel.

  3. “Hockey is a fighting sport.”

    Nope…the NHL is a fighting sport. Big difference.

  4. Despite my undying loyalty to the Canadiens, i’m sure George Parros will be the first to point out the obvious.. He fell! The damage was not because they were fighting, it is because he fell, and could’ve done so 100 different ways.

    And, for that matter, Orr was classy throughout… If players showed as much care for one another as was shown during (and subsequent to) that fight, we’d have us a clean game…

    • Although yes injuries can happen in many different ways, that specific kind of fall could only be realistically concievable in a fight. Your point isn’t much better than saying “his fist just happened to be there when they guys face was in it’s path”

      • Don’t be silly… Losing your balance as you are lunging forward only to fall is something that could occur under any circumstances (such as a missed check, etc…). I’m all for discussing the merits of fighting in hockey but, to use this incident as an example is a stretch.

        • Big difference though when you are carrying a stick in your hands, you’re pretty well sure of breaking your fall.

        • Nope. He couldn’t break his fall because he couldn’t get his arms forward because of the way his jersey was being held, which required the other guy to be close for several seconds already grabbing his jersey, then duck something which couldn’t be much other than a punch. People CAN fall and hit their head on the ice, but that situtation is going to be next to impossible outside of a fight – and a hockey fight on ice, at that.

  5. just a matter of time till someone is dead or a V8 drink being wheeled about. .. then all that money aint gonna help.

  6. This was more about an accident rather than fighting .