An Open Letter to the National Hockey League

by - Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I am tired.

I am tired of the judgement calls that are interfering with the game of hockey.

Decisions about punishment should be made based on the action and the outcome, not the perceived intent of the player at fault.

Because that is really all you "know".

Every single player in the NHL has the skill and ability to injure another player.  The players are strong, fast and competitive.

But you keep making calls based on what you think the players intent is.

You decided that Zdeno Chara did not intend to injure Max Pacioretty, and did not suspend him even though he suffered a severe concussion that knocked him out for the rest of the season.

You decided that Aaron Rome intended to injure Nathan Horton, and suspended him for four games (even though the call on the ice was exactly that of the Chara incident).

You decided that Johnny Boychuk did not intend to injure and BREAK THE BACK of Mason Raymond.  You said it was a misfortunate play that resulted in a terrible injury and that there was no intent to injure, even though Boychuk didn't let up on the play and hit a defenseless Raymond, who was projected ass-first (with his head between Boychuk's legs) into the boards so hard HIS BACK WAS BROKEN.  So hard that he is still in a Boston-area hospital, unable to watch his team play in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final... with A BROKEN BACK.

What I want to know, is how did you all of a sudden become a mind reader?  How do you know that Chara and Boychuk didn't intend to injure a player, but Rome did?

You need to start making calls based on the action and the outcome, not what you think the intent is.  The facts.  Not what you think a player is/was/will be thinking.  Because the only person that really knows that is the player in question.

Do you really think that they are going to admit that they intended to hurt another player? Really?

I realize that in writing this, I become one of the whiny Canucks fans... but really - all I am asking for consistency.  Day-to-day and game-to-game, the players and fans should know what to expect as a result of on ice incidents.  We should know that X play always results in Y punishment.  It is then the call of the player whether they feel that the "crime" is worth the punishment.  And in the end, they have to answer to the rest of their team and the fans.

You don't really need to worry about writing more rules... there are already more than enough to go around.

You just have to make sure that the people you hire are capable of making consistent calls on and off the ice and that the rules that are currently written are followed.

I am proud of my Canucks.  They aren't perfect, but they're my team.

I can't say I'm proud of the National Hockey League though.


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  1. Anonymous2:18 PM

    Well said. Did you send a copy to the NHL? Mo

  2. Sigh. Totally agree. And I hate talking about it because it always comes off whiny. And as though I'm blaming the losses on the officiating, which I'm not, as great teams overcome anything and everything to win. But I can't handle watching the reffing in the STANLEY CUP FINAL. The games are consistently getting out of hand. Calls aren't being made when they should be, and then the 3rd period rolls along and the refs are kicking out players who haven't done a thing, but they think MIGHT do something.

    And I really hate hearing that Aaron Rome had the intent to injure. The intent to hit? Hell yes. The intent to injure? Aaron Rome? Who was just out with a concussion? Who has no reputation of being the sort of player who WOULD intend to injure someone? Yeah. Right.

    And, ugh, I could go on forever. No, Boychuk's hit on Raymond wasn't mindblowing. And I understand players get into the game, and that you are supposed to finish your checks. But the amount of force he must have used on Raymond against the boards to BREAK HIS BACK is not part of hockey. Pin him against the boards. There was no hit to be finished on the play.

  3. I hope you sent that letter.. very well-written and to the point. Love it! And I don't think you sounded like a whiny Canuck fan, you sounded like a hockey fan.