Wednesday, March 21, 2012

violence in hockey

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Violence In Hockey

With the increase in society taking a stance against violence, the sport of hockey has become an area where some feel that violent acts such as checking, fighting, and overall body contact occur too frequently and should be eliminated. Lately, NHL officials have lowered toleration to these acts, by issuing heftier fines and suspensions, but not enough to make a huge difference. Many fear that this violence is negatively affecting the youth of America and is contradicting the teachings of good sportsmanship that is encouraged by today’s amateur coaches. However, players, and most people close to the game, are in opposition of these feelings and believe that violence is a vital part of the sport and its history. So I pose the question Should violence in Hockey be banished? My feeling is NO.

Before thinking about the obvious pros and cons of violence in hockey, think about what it would be like to be in the skates of a fighter in hockey. The six-theory method designed by John Schneider, is designed help explain how a fighter might feel and what choices he has to make.

According to Mr. Schneider, the reasons that so much violence is occurring in sports is due to these six theories The violence in sport mirrors violence found in society, violence occurring as the result of economic incentives, the influence of crowd behavior on player violence, genetic causation for player aggression, and psychological stress and player violence (Lapchick 0). Of Schneider’s six theories, I feel that three are important in explaining my research. They are the theories of sport mirroring society, violence as a result of economic incentive, and the influence of the crowd behavior.

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The first theory, the theory of sport mirroring society, explains that the same reactions of everyday humans to certain situations is very similar to how a hockey player would react to a similar situation in a game. Most people when involved in a highly stressful situation where violence is around would probably resort to a fight to resolve their differences. In sport, why should we expect any different. In events such as hockey games, where people are expected to hit and make body contact all game long, sooner or later some type of altercation or disagreement is bound to take place. Like anything, if people are being pushed around and called names etc. it is only a matter of time before the opposition gets into their heads and retaliation is expected.

In hockey especially, economic incentive plays a big role in the violence level. There are some players whose only role on a team is to protect and enforce the unwritten rules of the game such as taking a cheap shot at a teams best player, or running into another teams goalie etc. When dirty acts by the other team take place, a “fighter” is immediately summoned by the coach to go out onto the ice and take care of business. If a fighter chooses not to fight, he will be unemployed. A fighter can also receive a bonus in pay if his teams star player stays injury free (Staudohar 116). In most cases though, fighters are often being bounced around the league, but if you are a known tough guy, you will always have a job in hockey.

The third theory, the influence of crowd behavior, plays a smaller role than the proceeding two theories, but nonetheless, is often a factor in violence promotion.

Like most people, when being applauding for a certain act, we will try to repeat it. In hockey the concept is no different. When the home team is taking a beating from the other team, the fans know what’s coming. They cheer and chant for the fighter to be put into the game, and when he gets his job done, he is rewarded by the fans. One fighter said “the adrenaline rush you get from 0,000 screaming fans is unbelievable; you don’t want to let them down” (Lapchick 47). This quote is a perfect example of how a crowd can be a huge factor in violence promotion on the ice.

All three of those theories relate closely to the role of the fighter in hockey and why it is that he does commit these acts of violence. They tend to take most of the blame off the fighter, as it almost seems as if he has only one route to choose; to fight.

When leagues such as the National Hockey League (NHL) are asked to try and remove the violence from their sport, they are hesitant because it is not what the fans want. Why should these leagues remove the violence that is occurring if they are making money and keeping most fans happy. “Bryant and Zillman report that television viewers enjoy NHL plays more when they are rough and violent. Two of the best-selling videos in parts of the Northeastern United States have been a collection of The Best Fights in the NHL and Hockey’s Greatest Hits” (McPherson 4). The fans of the games love to see these situations and eliminating the fighting aspect would hurt the support. Even former NHL president Clarence Campbell felt that the violence taking place in his sport was called for and was reluctant to remove the fighting and the body contact because he knew that it is what the majority of hockey fans want. His feelings can be summed up in this quote “Not that fans don’t enjoy scoring and good play, but fighting is a major part of hockey’s entertainment. If violence ceases to exist, it will not be the same game. As long as fighting is part of the show we will certainly be able to continue selling it. As we also continue to not promote it. We tolerate it and we bring it under disciplinary control which we believe satisfies the public” (Snyder 01).

Also, its better that the violence takes place between two willing combatants as in hockey, rather than in other sports where bench clearing brawls, and hit batsmen take place. Allowing people not to be able vent their frustrations through sports in my mind would also increase the violence that is happening away from the playing field. It is a known fact that sports do keep kids off the street and away from gangs, which is why you see so many athletic and boxing clubs being run out of the inner city. It is allowing the youth to take their energy and hostility out on a willing opponent who is ready and consenting rather than against an innocent bystander.

Some individuals have gone as far as saying that sport in general is creating a deviant subculture where these athletes are becoming the opposite of what was intended for them. The emphasis in formalized sport on victory may, in fact, promote deviant behavior and poor sportsmanship (Snyder 101). This is a direct contradiction from the main argument of those opposed to hockey violence. While most feel that this violence is teaching the youth of today bad sportsmanship, they fail to recognize that the emphasis on winning is what is really corrupting the games. Too many kids these days aren’t having fun in sports, as the emphasis on winning has become too serious.

The violence that is occurring today in Hockey is not occurring more than it was ten or twenty years ago like some people might suggest. It is only being highly publicized and talked about more by the mass media. If there is one group to blame for the increase in violence I feel that it would be the media, not the athletes themselves. If you turn on the television to watch a sports channel now a day, we have all these talk shows with violence as the topic. These channels host calls and hold rap-sessions on how violent sports has become, but when you watch the 1100 Sportscenter, it will always glorify an act of violence like a hockey hit of the night or repeat some clips from a good fight or a good hit. I can recall numerous occasions where the media has hyped up a hockey game involving two tough guys and creating hysteria between two teams based on what happened the last time they played. Isn’t this wrong for the media to be trying to prevent violence, but at the same time encouraging and glorifying it? Look at sports like boxing for example, which rely on the media to increase the sports fans interest in an upcoming match. When you can only fit approximately 17,000 people into a Las Vegas boxing arena, the money is not made at the gate. Millions and millions of dollars are gathered from pay-per- view television where again millions of spectators are waiting to see the outcome of a match (McPherson 101). We as society, the fans, media, players etc. have to face the fact that majority of people are attracted to this sort of violence in sports and there is nothing we can do to change it.

Should we take steps to discourage the violence in hockey? Yes, but not by trying to do away with it. We must keep penalties and suspensions harsh, but at the same time, realize why fights sometimes have to take place. Its not every day when certain events like the University of Moncton-University of Prince Edward Island hockey game where a referee was assaulted on the ice after disallowing then allowing the same goal takes place (Lunney 1) . People have to realize that this is not a true representation of hockey, and that crazy acts like this happen in any league, or sport. This kind of violence occurs very little in the sport of hockey considering the amount of games that are played throughout the year and they are of course not the norm.

Violence in hockey is not having a negative effect on society, it is only allowing players to protect their teammates and fans to enjoy themselves while they are watching a particular sport. Yes there are instances where players and fans do go overboard and get carried away causing scuffles, but it is not very often. When it does happen, it is blown-up so that people think hockey is played by bozos and goons who can only fight. The violence that is in sport is here to stay and should be left that way so that the real fans and those who understand what is going on can enjoy the sport. The media and people opposed to this violence, should start looking for better ways to demote such actions and start realizing that the NHL is also. They should also stop worrying about the professionals and start teaching their own kids that sports are to have fun, and that winning isn’t everything. That is the more important issue.

It would be hard to eliminate violence in hockey because it has been a popular and long-lasting part of the game. Players know that a good, solid hit or a bit fight can sometimes put momentum on their side, and giving them extra drive to turn a game around. Most importantly, Players, Fans and those close to the game do not want to see it be removed because not only is it entertaining and a momentum builder, but it has forever been a part of the games heroes, history and rich tradition. Hopefully, people will let go and wake up to realize that the players aren’t responsible for any of the hoopla going on and that they are just making the issue much worse than it really is.

Annotated Bibliography

1) 17 Information Please Sports Almanac. Wilmington, MA. Inso Corp., 18

This book gives statistics and records for a whole year in sports; includes every sport. I used this for statistical knowledge and a grasp for the difference between home and away records for sports teams.

) Gongola, Eric. “Sports can turn dreams into nightmares”. The Standard Times 0

Apr. 000 (http//

This article tells speaks of how aggression in sports should stay at the games instead of on the streets. It gives a story supporting its opinion. I used it to show how violent aggression should be taken care of during games, because if not, it may result in a worse situation after games.

) Lapchick, Richard. Fractured focus. Lexington, MA. Lexington Books Ed. 186

This book talks about how sports are becoming more violent. It gives specific examples and theories on the subject matter. I used this in my paper to talk about the six theories of why violence is occurring in sports.

4) Lunney, Daniel. Refs on run Abuse of officials on rise in Manitoba. Winnipeg Sun,

pg. . March 6, 16.

This book talks about the abuse of officials and concentrates on an event that happened in the Canadian province of Manitoba. It also tells stories that were never released before to the public. I used this book to get an idea of some bad effects of on ice aggression in sports.

5) McPherson, Brian D., James E. Curtis & John W. Loy. The social significance of

sport. Champaign, IL. Human Kinetics Books. 18

This book argues that violence in sports is a part of history and the game. It gives examples from the past, reactions from people close to sports, and supports its opinions. I used this book as background for talking about how most people connected with a specific sport and its history feel about violence.

6) Snyder Eric E. & Earl A. Spreitzer. Social aspects of sport, Englewood Cliffs, NJ

Prentice-Hall Inc. 18

Similar to the proceeding book, this book talks about the pressure to win and perform in a sport and how this brings out violence. It also gives examples. I used this book as background for people opposed to such violence in sports, and to show how those connected with a sport can sometimes be held responsible while they might not even be playing.

7) Staudohar, Paul D. Playing For Dollars. Ithaca, NY Cornell University Press 186

This book talks about the financial significance of sports and also how money plays a huge role in sports; it argues against the changing face of athletics, and is not for it. I used this book to gain background knowledge on how money can relate to violence, and to get a negative view on how athletics is changing.


In this research paper, the main topic was to show that although there is an increase in society opposition to violence that in hockey, it should not be eliminated from the sport.

Although there has been a call by some to have violence such as fighting, checking and body contact eliminated from hockey, they have to realize that most of what’s going on with violence in hockey has nothing to do with the players and a lot to do with the media and those opposed to it. The violence that is being displayed in hockey should stay in the game, and for those who believe that it should be eliminated should realize that it is a vital part of the game and its history.

While this is only my opinion, I have researched the pros, cons, theories, and the facts, and hope I have swayed your opinion on this issue.

Please note that this sample paper on violence in hockey is for your review only. In order to eliminate any of the plagiarism issues, it is highly recommended that you do not use it for you own writing purposes. In case you experience difficulties with writing a well structured and accurately composed paper on violence in hockey, we are here to assist you. Your cheap custom college paper on violence in hockey will be written from scratch, so you do not have to worry about its originality.

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