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The wussification of hockey

December 26, 2018

There has been great debate in these parts lately about what we’re doing to the game of hockey. Let’s face it, in Fort Wayne then tend to go more old-school than in some other towns. Regardless, when I saw this today, I couldn’t help but think that Gordie Howe was rolling over in his grave.

The International Ice Hockey Federation is buckling down on late hits in advance of the World Junior Championships. Conceptually, I’m fine with that. Anyone who reads my stuff knows, I hate hits that put players into dangerous positions, especially ones where players go head-first into the boards.

But, I cannot make any sense of the explanatory video from the IIHF, when it comes to a player who is hit a split second after releasing the puck. Again, conceptually, maybe I could justify it, but not when you stop to think that referees are going to have to make these judgment calls on the fly. There will not be any consistency. 

Check out the video above. 

This isn’t totally unlike football, in which defensive players are befuddled as to how to play the game as they weed out a lot of hits.

However, the truest thing I’ve heard in football is: just go for the ball and you’ll be fine. But watching this video above, even if you go for the puck, well, you won’t necessarily be fine. 

jcohn@jg.net

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