Eliminate criminal violence from hockey
Eliminate criminal violence from hockey
Why this petition matters
(image above, (c) dailycaller.com)
As the most prestigious professional ice hockey league in the world, the NHL bears the responsibility of leading the sport by example. The league must promote values that parents are proud to see their children embrace as they start playing in minor leagues: physical fitness, team spirit, fair-play, healthy competition.
Ice hockey is a contact sport and it should remain so, but only insofar as the contact is meant for one player to separate an opposing player from the puck. The contact may only be initiated with a porportionate amount of force required to achieve that goal and its objective must not be to injure or wound the opposing player.
However, the NHL is the only professional sports league in North-America whose rule book tolerates and defines a frame for the use of illegal violence during play:
- Fighting between players is tolerated and regulated by a lengthy rule 56
- Boarding is tolerated and regulated by rule 41
- Charging is tolerated and regulated by rule 42
- Elbowing is tolerated and regulated by rule 45
- Head checks are tolerated and regulated by rule 48
We are asking the NHL to lead the way in eliminating illegal violence from the sport.
To do so, the rule book should be amended to take into acount any physical injury resulting from an illegal act of violence. There is a precedent for such rules,as rule 60.3 already specifies that a high-sticking infraction incurs a minor-penalty but that any high-sticking infraction causing an injury is subject to an automatic double-minor penalty (even when the contact is accidental).
We recognize that injuries incurred as part of legal plays are an inherent danger of the sport and should not be regulated. However, injuries resulting from an illegal act of violence must be severely punished. In addition to the existing rules, we propose that a new section dedicated specifically to such injuries be added to the rule book. This new section should include severe measures:
- The player causing the injury receives an automatic major penalty and a game misconduct.
- An independent review panel determines if the injury was caused voluntarily or accidentally. The severity of the injury must not be taken into account. The panel may include a representive for each of the two players involved but should not include any member of the NHL or the NHLPA.
- If the panel's assessment of the injury is that it was caused voluntarily, the player causing the injury receives an automatic 20 game suspension. On a second offense, the player is banned for the equivalent of an entire season. On third offense, the player is banned for life.
- Regardless of the panel's assessment, the player causing the injury is suspended for a minimum period of time equal to the injured player's inability to come back to play. If the injured player never recovers fully, then the guilty player should not be allowed to play anymore either.
- The player causing the injury cannot receive any salary during his suspension. If a part of the suspension includes playoff games (during which players are not paid), then he must pay a fine equivalent to his current 1-game salary for every 2 days of suspension. For instance, a player suspended for 60 days (presumably because the injured player misses 2 months of play) would lose the equivalent of 30 games' salary. The 1-game salary of any player is calculated by dividing the annual Salary Cap hit by the number of games played by a team during regular season.
- The team employing the suspended player pays his salary to a fund setup by the NHL and the NHLPA whose objectives are to compensate injured players for loss of revenue, and promote the values of fair-play and healthy competition in minor leagues. This salary still counts towards the team's Salary Cap.
- Neither the NHL nor the NHLPA should be allowed to participate in any way to the defense of a player against whom criminal charges haved been pressed as a result of injuring another player during game play.
Hopefully, the severe monetary penalties associated with illegal violence will deter team owners from hiring players who do not adhere to the values of fair-play and healthy competition.