Prof. Cara Violini
December 10th, 2018
Has Hockey in Canada Been Ruined or is it Improving
Hockey in Canada has been on the rise for the past 10-15 years, just look at the statistics. Although some may make the argument that the game is becoming “soft” or boring to watch because, every league has demised most of the fighting and physical contact out of the game completely. For a true hockey fan, that is not the case. Nowadays, hockey has been based off the speed, the skills and the smarts of a player, which is what fans go to the games to see these days. Without all the fighting and dirty physical play of the game in today’s game, there are a lot less injuries to deal with and because of that, more players get better opportunities to go farther in hockey. Because todays hockey games are more exciting, it intrigues more fans to want to come to the games, which brings more money to the teams and to the players. Hockey has evolved into what would be considered a better and more exciting game.
In todays game, hockey is all about speed, smarts and skills. It’s a big difference from how hockey was played 20 years ago. Back then hockey was a lot slower, had less fans and the all-around game wasn’t even close to on par with what todays game brings. Back in the day, players smoked vigorously, even during games! Today players choose not to smoke or do anything harmful to themselves because, the game is played at such a high intensity and takes a large tole on their bodies that if they did smoke or do drugs for say, they wouldn’t be able to play the calibre of hockey that is required of them to succeed. “New school hockey which is best defined as actually playing hockey, when compared to old school hockey” (Old School Hockey vs. New School Hockey: a debate that needs to die). Hockey today is looked at as “what can I do to help my team win?” versus back in the day it was “who can I hit? Who am I going to fight this shift?”. The game of hockey has evolved since the 90’s and has turned into an all-around game of skill and speed, which in my eyes is a more exciting game to watch.
Because of the descent of physical play and fighting in todays game, there has been a major decline in both injuries and suspensions in the game of hockey. In todays game, you don’t see too many players going out of their way to make a big hit on another player, which is why the game has improved. Without the dirty players in the game to injure others, hockey can evolve into a more skilled and improved game overall which would be more entertaining for both players and fans. Fans don’t like seeing injuries and suspensions happen in games, especially when it’s the star player of a team, “players at all levels experience injuries, most notably head injuries, which scientific evidence suggests is having serious and at times debilitating effects (short and long-term) on players”( Adams, Stephen: If You Don’t Want to Get Hurt, Don’t Play Hockey, pg.249). Todays version of a physical/gritty player is, someone who isn’t afraid to battle for scoring areas on the ice. Someone that is not afraid to the battle along the boards. Physicality can mean strength which means, taking a hit to make a play that could become a scoring opportunity. Without all the suspensions and dirty hitting in the game, hockey becomes a more exciting sport that more enjoyable for both player’s and fans.
What makes hockey an exciting game is the fact that every game is a non-stop action thriller. Players go up and down the ice skating their hearts out to make games fun to watch for the fans, “The point of sports is to be entertaining and exciting, and in hockey, anything can happen at any given moment. It's a sport you don't want to look away from because in a split second, something amazing can happen.” (Carrick, Drew. “5 Reasons Hockey Is the Best Damn Sport in America”). What really makes a hockey game different from what it used to be is the ability to defend. Defense makes a game intense and fast-paced in today’s game. It is what makes a game entertaining for the most part because, if a team has a strong defense, they can make more time for themselves in the offensive zone. Because of the lack of defensive capability in the earlier days of hockey, the scores of games were very high, sometimes even breaking the 10-goal mark. In todays game, teams would be lucky to score 4-5 goals against another team. Defense and goaltending back then is a joke in comparison to what it is currently. Players are smarter and are in better shape in todays game, so they can play at a higher level of intensity for a longer period, while making better defensive plays. If we put Wayne Gretzky (best player to ever play the game) in todays game, would people think that he would put up the insane amount of points that he had in the past. Of course not, because of the high intensity and effort in every shift, putting up 1000 points would be a challenge that not even the “great one” could achieve. Hockey today is the most entertaining hockey viewed in history.
Hockey in Canada has been on the rise and evolving for the past 20 years. The process of evolution has begun with the speed, skill and smarts of players. Games are more superior to what they were in the 90’s with the skill in today’s game. The suspensions and descent of physical play came next in the process of evolution. With less hitting and physical play there is a decrease in the number of injuries and suspensions, which creates a better game in general. Then, the defensive capability made the game an action thriller for both fans and players to enjoy. Hockey in Canada has evolved into a better, more exciting game that both fans and players deem better.
· Kinkade, Brian. “Old School Hockey vs. New School Hockey: A Debate That Needs to Die.” Blackhawk Up, FanSided, 2 Apr. 2014, blackhawkup.com/2014/04/02/old-school-hockey-vs-new-school-hockey-debate-needs-die/.
· Adams, Stephen, et al. “‘If You Don’t Want to Get Hurt, Don’t Play Hockey’: The Uneasy Efforts of Hockey Injury Prevention in Canada.” Sociology of Sport Journal, vol. 32, no. 3, 2015, pp. 248–265., doi:10.1123/ssj.2014-0092.
· Carrick, Drew. “5 Reasons Hockey Is the Best Damn Sport In America (And Canada).” Elite Daily, Elite Daily, 13 Nov. 2018, www.elitedaily.com/sports/reasons-hockey-best-sport/1222168.