Doctors say NHL owners too accepting of violence in the game

CALGARY — Canada’s physicians have dropped the gloves with NHL owners saying the league is too accepting of hockey violence. Two-thirds of delegates at a Canadian Medical Association meeting in Calgary Wednesday voted to “condemn the complacency of the NHL in regards to violence in hockey.”

CALGARY — Canada’s physicians have dropped the gloves with NHL owners saying the league is too accepting of hockey violence.

Two-thirds of delegates at a Canadian Medical Association meeting in Calgary Wednesday voted to “condemn the complacency of the NHL in regards to violence in hockey.”

The motion was brought forward by Dr. Pierre Harvey, a physician from Riviere-du-Loup, Que. He said he was motivated by a devastating 2011 hit on Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty that sent the player to hospital with a concussion and a fractured neck.

“I wanted my motion to be specific to the NHL because that’s where it happens,” said Harvey.

“If the NHL stops doing that or makes a significant move to reduce those concussion rates, I’m sure the whole hockey industry and minor league hockey will follow. We deplore it because it has a significant impact on our players health and those players are major role models.

“Kids learn that’s the way we play hockey and I think it’s not acceptable to hit the head of someone.”

Harvey acknowledges that hockey is a rough game, but said more can be done to reduce blows to the head and hits from behind.

Boston Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara was not suspended for the hit that sent Pacioretty head-first into the glass between the benches. The league ruled the hit a “hockey play” and said if found no evidence that Chara delivered the check in any manner that could be deemed dangerous.

“When I saw that picture I thought, well, he could have been dead. He was unconscious on the ice and I thought well naturally they will punish this guy,” Harvey said, adding that Chara should have been suspended for 50 to 80 games. “The owners have a financial interest in tolerating and promoting violence and we need to be a counterweight.”

The league changed its rules in the 2010-11 season to outlaw bodychecks aimed at the head and checking from a player’s blind side.

But research released last month suggested the rule changes, which were designed to cut down on the number of concussions, haven’t made a difference.

The data showed that there was no statistical significance in the incidence of concussions in the NHL in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons compared to the 2009-10 season. The analysis also showed that the type of hits outlawed by the NHL rule weren’t actually the major cause of concussions.

The incoming president of the Canadian Medical Association acknowledges it’s a thorny issue.

“Any time you touch hockey in Canada you better watch every word you say because you’re going to get a lot of people really upset,” said Dr. Louis Francescutti. “I love hockey. I’ve got a hockey rink in my backyard, but there are certain rules when you get on the Francescutti rink and one of them is you don’t hit the other opponent. The kids seem to have a lot more fun playing hockey.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Glen Carritt organized a United We Roll Canada convoy around May 2019 that travelled in 2019. An independent review said he breached council code of conduct rules multiple times. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Former Innisfail town councillor breached code of conduct many times, says review

Consultants say 29 of 36 alleged breaches by Glen Carritt had merit

Members of the Red Deer RCMP downtown patrol monitor for drug activity and property crimes. (Advocate file photo).
Two peace officers are training to join Red Deer’s downtown police patrol unit

This “integrated” unit will be the first in Alberta

Students and staff at Gateway Christian School wore pink Wednesday in support of Pink Shirt Day, a worldwide anti-bullying initiative that was started in 2007. (Photo courtesy of Red Deer Public Schools)
Students, central Alberta community celebrate Pink Shirt Day

Mayor of Sylvan Lake Sean McIntyre supports anti-bullying cause

City of Red Deer has nearly doubled its active COVID-19 case count since Feb. 10 and has 75.6 per cent of the Central zone’s active cases. (File photo)
Another new high: Red Deer hits 574 active COVID-19 cases

Province reports 13 new COVID-19 deaths, 430 new cases

A homeless shelter was promised Red Deer to help the city deal with downtown issues. The city and province finally released a signed agreement on what the facility will offer, a year after a $7 million commitment was made for the project by the province. (Advocate file photo).
City and province take next step in bringing a 24/7 shelter to Red Deer

It will include a detox and counselling services

Meteor spotted over Edmonton, Alta., on Feb. 22, 2021 by several, who took to social media to share their surveillance camera captures. (@KixxAxe/Twitter)
VIDEO: Fireball meteor streaks across sky, spotted by early-morning risers in Alberta, B.C.

Videos of the quick streak of light flashing across the sky before 6:30 a.m. MST

Montreal Canadiens head coach Claude Julien looks towards the ice as his team takes on the Ottawa Senators during second period NHL action in Ottawa on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. The Canadiens have fired head coach Julien and associate coach Kirk Muller. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Montreal Canadiens fire head coach Claude Julien, associate coach Kirk Muller

Montreal Canadiens fire head coach Claude Julien, associate coach Kirk Muller

Canada midfielder Sophie Schmidt (13) attempts a shot on goal during the first half of a SheBelieves Cup women's soccer match against Argentina, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Phelan M. Ebenhack
Canadian women exit SheBelieves Cup on losing note, blanked 2-0 by Brazil

Canadian women exit SheBelieves Cup on losing note, blanked 2-0 by Brazil

Supporters pray outside court in Stony Plain, Alta., on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, as a trial date was set for Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church. He is charged with holding Sunday services in violation of Alberta's COVID-19 rules and with breaking conditions of his bail release. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Trial date for jailed Alberta pastor charged with breaking COVID-19 health orders

Trial date for jailed Alberta pastor charged with breaking COVID-19 health orders

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney shakes hands with Jason Nixon, government house leader and environment minister, after Nixon is sworn into office in Edmonton on April 30, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta eyes recall legislation, focuses on COVID-19 aid in spring sitting

Alberta eyes recall legislation, focuses on COVID-19 aid in spring sitting

CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie attends a a news conference in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, February 28, 2019. The CFL faces more challenges in its 2021 return than it did last year when it was forced to cancel its season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
CFL will have to appease more levels of government to get 2021 protocols approved

CFL will have to appease more levels of government to get 2021 protocols approved

European Union Ambassador to Venezuela Isabel Brilhante Pedrosa meets with Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza at his office in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. The meeting was called after the EU sanctioned an additional 19 Venezuelans for "undermining democracy and the rule of law" in Venezuela and the National Assembly declared the EU ambassador "persona non grata." (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)
Sanctions prompt Venezuela to expel head of EU delegation

Sanctions prompt Venezuela to expel head of EU delegation

Capitol Police Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman departs a ceremony memorializing U.S. Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, as an urn with his cremated remains lies in honor on a black-draped table at the center of the Capitol Rotunda, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021, in Washington. (Erin Schaff/The New York Times via AP, Pool)
Chief: Capitol Police were warned of violence before riot

Chief: Capitol Police were warned of violence before riot

Relatives of inmates cry outside the Centro de Privación de Libertad Zona 8 prison where riots broke out in Guayaquil, Ecuador, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. Deadly riots broke out in prisons in three cities across the country due to fights between rival gangs, according to police. (AP Photo/Angel Dejesus)
Gang clashes result in Ecuador’s deadliest prison riots ever

Gang clashes result in Ecuador’s deadliest prison riots ever

Most Read