I spent over 20 years of my life managing two ice arenas. I have watched more hockey than most people and this is what I learned. Yes, hockey can be dangerous. When you put that many people on the ice in a fast paced game, such as it is, with lethal sharp weapons strapped to their feet there will be cuts. When you take a frozen piece of rubber and shoot it a hundred miles an hour there will be bruises and busted teeth. When you have that many bodie’s fighting over that frozen piece of rubber there will be bumps and bruises. It’s the nature of the game and always has been. You make a choice to play it or not, it’s not mandatory.
Referees need to take charge of rough or malicious play and they need to do that without the pressure of threats from fans or coaches who don’t like their decisions. The rules are already in place and that is why they are out there. Just because the pros play that way is no excuse for youth hockey and high school hockey to play that way and they need to be reminded of that. We had two unfortunate incidents in the last few weeks that have gained a lot of media attention. There have been others and there will be more; again it’s the nature of the game.
As in every sport there are players out there who are out to hurt people. They are obvious and easily weeded out. Coaches need to do that and the ones I have known, have. Hockey will always be a great game.