Much of my knowledge of hockey comes from Disney’s Mighty Ducks trilogy. No, I’m not going to watch Slap Shot… an actual good movie about hockey. I prefer my skewed Emilio Estevez vision of hockey, thank you very much. Now if you want to talk about whether or not D3 was better or worse than D2.. then that’s a conversation I want to partake in.
Even with my Disneyfied version of hockey, I got some things to complain about the game.
It seems to me that many penalties in hockey are just natural parts of actually playing hockey. When you’ve got sticks and legs everywhere and all of them are moving about whacking each other at fast speed on slippery ice… how do you even avoid hitting someone with a stick, elbowing the guy behind you or accidentally hooking someone?
But hooking, tripping, elbowing, high sticking are all penalties in hockey.
While I can understand that intentionally doing these things deserve to be considered a penalty but doing it unintentionally shouldn’t.
It’s similar to my soccer experience in which the “no hands” rule applies. I get it. It’s soccer. You use your feet so you don’t use your hands to pick up the ball and toss it around. BUT if the ball bounces off someone’s knee and it just so happens to hit the outside of your hand… why is that considered a foul? I didn’t want to touch the ball with my hand.. it was the ball that hit my hand. It’s the bully who says “stop hitting yourself” when he’s forcing your hand to hit yourself.
The same rules go for hockey and I think it’s wrong.
Speaking of soccer… why can’t you kick in hockey? You can angle your foot.. but you can’t kick the puck in the goal? It’s already hard enough as it is to even get the damn puck in the goal. You’re lucky if you see a game where a team has scored 5 times within an hour and 15 minutes.
Maybe the sport would even be better without sticks. It could be Ice Soccer.
So there are all these minor penalties that seem to occur just by the nature of the game itself….BUT if you want to start to punch a guy straight in the face that’s OK in hockey. You can start whaling on a guy until he’s bleeding on the ice but accidentally kick a puck in the goal and everyone gets pissed.
But what is interesting about fights in hockey is that you can actually beat each other up… but my God.. you don’t want to be rude about it. There’s an etiquette to fighting in hockey.
Some toofless Molson-Drinking bearded Canadian skates on over to his fellow enforcer and they set a time to have a fight together (5 minutes into the third period good for you?… I’m gonna be busy triple deking, could we try to make it earlier?). Once the schedule is all figured out you can have at it.
The loser is expected to accept his loss graciously… God forbid you start screaming when you’ve lost teeth and your bloody nose is staining the ice upsetting the Zamboni man who’s watching in the corner and is the only guy who really “gets” you.
What’s bizarre when two guys on slippery ice are fighting is that they have to hold each other up because otherwise they’d fall on top of each other. So they’re purple nurpling each other through their jerseys and punching each other in the face in this kinda beautiful ice dance of, “I want to kill you so bad… but at the same time I hope you don’t fall down on the ice cause then I’d fall down too…so be careful.. don’t fall down.. cause if you do I am so going to kill you on this cold slippery ice.”
What I do like about Hockey penalties though is how they punish you for them.
How different sports treat penalties is as diverse as the way different parents treat their fighting kids.
Say, an older brother fouls his little sister when they fight over some ice cream.
In basketball they reward the person who was fouled by letting him take a free throw shot. So it’s like the parents giving the little sister even more ice cream because the older brother fouled her.
In soccer, there a lot of the “I’m warning you mister!” with their cute little cards..
“Don’t make me do it… don’t make me do it.. If you don’t listen to me.. I’m going to show you a red card… OHP! That’s it.. RED CARD buddy.. RED CARD.”
But in Hockey, if you commit a foul you have to sit in the penalty box.
It’s the equivalent of the parents saying, “Sit in this box and think about what you did,” while all the rest of the kids are out there tongues waggling madly over the ice cream. It is essentially a “timeout.”
This seems like the best way to penalize someone and is generally considered good parenting. Empty warnings or rewarding the offended individual does not help them to learn their lesson.