Monday, April 04, 2005

An injured player - and nobody's at fault?

It happens sometimes when a player gets injured through no fault of any opponent - its always a sickening feeling when I blow the whistle and someone stays down on the ice for an extended period.

Whats shocking to me is that its nearly automatic that when a player is ejected for causing an injury (USA Hockey mandates an major penalty and game misconduct for an injury caused by an illegal check) the coach somehow manages to ignore the pain and suffering of the injured player to begin arguing some mythical "right" on the part of his players to play "tough" and "agressive" hockey.

Heres a news flash for all you coaches - there is no such right! Infact on page 'xix' of the official rules there is a 'Point of Emphasis' on "Fair Play and Respect" - its hard to imagine that attempting to argue out of a penalty is respecful, especially while the injured player is still lying on the ice with paramedics attempting to provide medical care.

I have to be circumspect about when and where it happened but a recent incident of the above mentioned "no fault" argument shook me. Seeing a profoundly injured player lay on the ice, clearly in great pain but bearing it with grit and amazingly quiet calm, and then being verbaly acosted by a coach claiming innocence on the part of the inflicting player, saddend me.

Shouldnt our coaches be teaching responsibility? Is a one game suspension for breaking the bones of an opponent really a grevious insult?


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