Hitting and physical contact is what makes hockey such an intriguing sport to watch. Many viewers tune in just to watch the fights, and although these are not as frequent in recent years, the physicality is what draws many viewers in. This does not mean that skill players are left out of the popularity, with star players such as Sidney Crosby being one of the many faces of the NHL. Therefore, when the concussion crisis hits these types of players, the league is forced to take notice. While Crosby has been in the league, he has accumulated an incredible number of points, and changed many facets of which the game is being played. He also, however, has encountered frequent concussions, missing over 100 games as a result. This has caught the attention of many league officials, including the Director of Player Safety, Brendan Shanahan. Shanahan, a hall of fame player, has had his fair share of penalty minutes, and understands the importance of protecting the players safety, particularly the star players. Although this position in the league cannot create new rules, they can enforce the current ones, and send a message to many of the players who are frequently involved in these types of plays. Many of the fines and punishments can be upwards of $5,000 and a certain number of games suspensions, based on the situation. This may not seem like much, and it isn’t. With many of the player’s current salaries, these types of fines don’t affect them very much, and although suspensions are detrimental to both the team and player, in the long run, the effect is fairly minimal. Many proponents for change argue for increased suspensions based around the injury times for the person on the receiving end of the incident. This may mean, in Crosby’s case, one could see over a 100 games worth of suspensions. While certainly an extreme example, this reasoning does hold some basis in not only hockey, but other similar sports, where many of the same issues are raised. Although some believe this to be over-the-top in regards to punishment, there is some sense in it. Although it is unlikely to ever be adopted, changes like this, and increased punishment, could lead to better results, and a better future for the sport as a whole.
A Menace for Good by Branigan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.