Seeing that I have a 12 year old hockey addict living with me, I’ve watched this Chara/Pacioretty hit over and over in the last few days The sound alone sends shivers down my spine.
The hockey mom in me puts me in the stands as the parent of this twenty-two year old boy and the fear is breathtaking.
To be totally honest, in my personal and humble opinion, not seeing the hit from every single angle and knowing all of the details… it doesn’t look to me like it was an outright attack. It looks scary as hell watching a young man hit the ice and I can imagine how horrid it must have felt to be in the Bell Center that night. I understand that there’s a rivalry between the teams and it can be argued on either side that it may or may not have been intentional… but it looks to me like Chara was heading for the play, angled off and gave a hit as that’s “his job”… and circumstances, timing, speed, situation, big red pole… everything was stacked against this young man and things could not have been worse for him. Well actually, they could have been…
I’ve approached this topic a few times now about hits to the head. In my “my kid’s only in PeeWee so what the hell do I know” opinion, NO HIT THAT INVOLVES A PLAYERS’ HEAD SHOULD BE ALLOWED! Suspensions sould be immediate whether it’s on purpose or a 100% fluke accident. It’s time to take it away from refs and any governing body of the sport to decide if it was clean, dirty, on purpose, freaky or whatever else you want to call it. Make the rule for every single player on the ice… SUSPENDED! Three games, five games… seven games… whatever. If it involves a head hitting the board, glass, pole… you’re out.
So… this is what will happen after such a rule is made. Some players will be suspended and as fans of the game we’ll all make a big stink and cry and moan that it was unfair… replays will be shown that it was a “weak hit” or the helmet “hardly grazed the boards” or any number of complaints we’ll come up with as we’ll find it upsetting that our favorite player may be kicked off the ice for a few games. Other players will be suspended and we’ll believe it wasn’t long enough… it was intentional… it was too hard of a hit and could have caused more serious damage. No one is going to be happy when a player is suspended but bottom line is that making such a rule puts the onus back to the player to be more careful on the ice. Also, since the teams don’t want their players suspended… it puts it on the coaches to keep their players in check. Use your head. Play the game. Hold back a moment before making a hit that could potentially cause another player to be horribly hurt.
We’re talking BRAIN INJURIES here. Let’s not fancy it up with the word CONCUSSION. A hit to the head causes BRUISING on the brain… BLEEDING on the brain. The effects for some are temporary… nausea, blurred vision, exhaustion and headaches. For others, the effects are life altering… changing how they live their life in the present and in many cases the brain injury comes back to haunt them years down the road.
Crosby’s concussion doesn’t seem to be making a difference. Maybe this one will. I don’t know that the NHL made a mistake in not suspending Chara… but in my “I’m a mom and have never laced up a pair of hockey skates in my life but for God’s sake I don’t want to see a player dead on the ice” opinion, they’re making a HUGE mistake if they don’t put a new rule in place that makes the players accountable for ANY hit that involves the head.
From what I gather on Twitter this morning, Air Canada has threatened to pull out of their NHL sponsorship if things aren’t looked at more closely… if rules aren’t changed. Maybe, just maybe this is what needs to happen for the NHL to see the light to make an immediate rule change.
For the love of God… for every family member and friend, for every parent who sits in the stands watching their child hit the ice unable to open their eyes, unable to feel their body… their life forever changed by a game… for every player out there who just wants to play hockey, for every fan who wants to watch… do something now before it gets worse than it already is. No helmet in the world can protect our children, our loved ones, from these powerful hits. I beg you… do it before my son is 22, lying on the ice and I find myself standing there with my heart in my throat as Mr. and Mrs. Pacioretty did on Tuesday night.
I don’t believe that Chara did anything on purpose, we can debate whether this was intentional or not all we want but in the end… does it really freakin’ matter?