Monday, 29 November 2010

Knowing The Code

I've never been an enforcer or a fighter in the NHL, but some say that the willingness to drop the gloves night-in and night-out is written into some players' genetic codes. It takes an incredible amount of courage and intestinal fortitude to lose the mitts and chuck knuckles at another guy while absorbing the rain of blows he is unleashing upon you. However, as you're aware, I fully endorse those men that stand for and honour "the Code" in hockey, and it's always nice to see two men who know how "the Code" works. In most cases, both players leave enough sense in their heads to pat each other on the back as warriors before they head to the penalty box thanks to "the Code" ensuring that the fight was fair.

Tonight, the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings got to see what a time-honoured tradition looks like as Aaron Voros of Anaheim and Kyle Clifford of the Kings showed what "the Code" is all about. Check this fight out:

Let's go through this to examine why this fight was a prime example of two players living by the words of "the Code".
  1. Players fight within their weight classes. Aaron Voros stands 6'2" tall, and weighs in at 210 lbs. Kyle Clifford measures in at 6'2", and tips the scales at 207 lbs. Clearly, there isn't much difference between the height, weight, and, by extrapolation, the reach that these two men have. Because of these factors, this fight should be fair on paper and neither man will be embarrassed based on size and weight.
  2. Fights are mutually agreed upon. It appears that both men were willing to engage in this battle of fisticuffs, so I see no issues here.
  3. Always fight fresh, and never fight tired. It appears, from the video, that Voros is coming from the bench while Clifford is still fairly fresh as he turns up ice while taking a pass. Again, I see no issues here as both men appear to be fresh off the bench, and certainly aren't that tired.
  4. Fight fair. This is a big one, and I'm very impressed by both men in this fight with their willingness to keep things fair. At the :08 mark, you can see that Voros' helmet pops off, leaving his head exposed. After a few more punches from both men, Clifford asks Voros to wait as he unbuckles his chin strap and removes his helmet at the :18 mark. This, kids, is the definition of fighting fair. Voros could easily break a hand on Clifford's helmet, so Clifford has an unfair advantage in this fight. However, Clifford recognizes this and corrects it with Voros' approval. Once done, the fight can continue as both men are on equal footing again. I am very impressed with Kyle Clifford's honouring of "the Code", and Voros deserves some kudos for giving the kid time to square up the fight. Well done, men!
The entire set of unwritten rules about "the Code" comes down to one thing: respect. Players who follow "the Code" have respect for their opponents, the game, and the integrity of the fight, and it is clearly evident that Kyle Clifford learned this either in the OHL with the Barrie Colts or the AHL with the Manchester Monarchs. He saw that Voros was at a disadvantage, asked Voros if he could remove the helmet, and did so without hesitation once Voros gave the go-ahead. That, kids, is respect to the highest degree shown by Clifford, and I am very impressed with the youngster's knowledge of "the Code".

Clifford may not be setting the world on fire on the scoresheet, but the young man definitely has shown the proper respect for the game of hockey in his short time in the NHL. And that has to count for something. If you ask me, I respect the kid for doing the right thing.

And sometimes, the right thing is the hardest thing to do.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cliffie was taught by a scholar of "The Code" Kevin Westgarth.