My Favorite Skater Got Fined for What?
It's no shock that fights and injuries occur. Heck, what's a hockey game without dropping the gloves and throwing a few punches every once in a while? But when players get hurt, what happens? Learn about player safety and what constitutes a suspension and a fine.
I Went to a Fight…
We all know the familiar phrase, “I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out.” It’s safe to say that some fans are even disappointed if they go to a game and there’s no fights. It’s not that we want our favorite players to get hurt (or even their worst rivals); it’s just that fights are part of the game. But do the rules really protect the players from getting hurt?
Even new hockey fans remember when players didn’t have to wear a helmet. Player safety has come a long way since then to protect skaters. Good sportsmanship means keeping the players safe so they’ll live to fight, I mean play, another game. So the NHL employs a Department of Player Safety to regulate what can and can’t be done on the ice. The rules are grounds for much debate, but here’s what Player Safety says are “General Category” infractions to a safe game:
- Charging - Rule 47(b)(c)
- Clipping - Rule 49(b)
- Elbowing - Rule 53(b)
- Head-butting - Rule 60(b)
- Inciting an opponent into incurring a penalty - Rule 41(g)
- Intervening in an altercation - Rule 56(d)
- Kneeing - Rule 71
- Obscene Language or Gestures - Rule 73(a)
- Persists in continuing an altercation - Rule 56(f)
We may not be talking about a simple pokecheck here, but, seriously, obscene language? Have these guys been to a hockey game?! And looks like you can’t try to stop the fight, either. We want our guys to be safe, but come on! How safe are they if they risk getting fined for stopping a fight?
Suspensions and Fines
Player Safety suspends and fines players for these infractions regardless of whether an injury is incurred as a result. During the regular season, three misconduct penalties in one game gets a one-game suspension and a $1,000 fine for the club. Each subsequent penalty gets an additional game suspended and another thousand bucks in fines. For playoff games, the number of penalties goes down to two per game.
Hockey fans are definitely a different breed. It’s what makes us hockey fans. What do you think about the rules? Do they really keep players safe? Is it all fine or should the good ‘ole DPS get back to real hockey?