December 18, 2011

I’ll never cheer a hockey fight again

I love hockey for its fast pace, complex strategy, nationalistic overtones, and the fights.

While, I used to love it for the fights.

*The New York Times *changed my point-of-view about hockey fights with an excellent series about the life and early death of hockey enforcer Derek Boogaard.

The three part series tells the story of a young man who wanted nothing more than to make it to the NHL on the merits of his on-ice skills only to discover his only path was using his fists.

It puts a mirror up to a culture – of which I was a participant – that celebrated hockey fights and expects young men like Boogaard to destroy their bodies and brains for our entertainment.

Boogaard died at age 28 from an accidental drug and alcohol overdose. His brain was examined after his death and he was found to be suffering from an advance case of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Hockey is the likely cause. Boogaard is not the only hockey enforcer to be found suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy after an early death.

As Boston University’s Chris Nowinski told *The New York Times, of hockey enforcers: *“They are trading money for brain cells”

[quote_box author=”Chris Nowinski, ” profession=”Boston University researcher”]
They are trading money for brain cells
[/quote_box]

I’m done with cheering hockey fights and it may be time to consider being done with the NHL until they improve the game by focusing on the game.