Hockey Headlines

Friday, 12 August 2011

Wasting Tax Dollars

Honestly, it seems like there is something wrong with the legal system in Canada when it comes to wasting money on investigations in hockey. Reports this week have the Montreal police finishing their investigation into the Zdeno Chara hit on Max Pacioretty last season, and turning over their findings to the Crown prosecutors to determine whether or not charges will be laid against Chara. There's no doubt that the hit that Chara threw on Pacioretty was pretty extreme, especially when you consider Pacioretty's injuries, but does anyone think this might be taking the law a little too far? Pacioretty has said there should be no criminal investigation. Chara has stated time and again that he had no intent of running Pacioretty into the stanchion. Why is this a criminal matter at all?

It's not like this is the first time that a Canadian institution has tried to impose its will on the game of hockey. In 2007, a Bloc Quebecois MP tried to have Hockey Canada remove Shane Doan as captain of the Canadian World Hockey Championship team after it was alleged that he had uttered a slur about French people. The NHL cleared Doan's name in the incident, but there was a fired-up politician trying to win some sort of popular idealism with his Quebec-based voters.

Chara has been cleared by the NHL of any wrong-doing, and Pacioretty seems to be preparing for Canadiens training camp this fall. The hit was devastating and difficult to watch - there's no doubt about that. The injuries that resulted from the hit caused Pacioretty to miss the remainder of the season and the playoffs as he recovered. But was it criminal?

Look, there are lots of criminal acts that the Montreal police force could be investigating instead of wasting their time on a case such as this. If Chara's hit is a criminal act as per the letter of the law in Montreal, what about former QMJHL player Patrice Cormier's actions as a member of the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies? Did his elbow on Mikael Tam not constitute some sort of criminal act? I can think of a few charges - assault, battery, attempted decapitation - that may fit the bill for what Cormier did. Yet Cormier walked away with nothing more than a QMJHL suspension.

Look, I'm all for promoting safety in the game and protecting the players from injuries, but a criminal investigation into a hit that resulted in injury is a little much. Pacioretty said he didn't want to see a criminal investigation made, and I'm 99.9% sure that Chara doesn't need this kind of aggravation. It's not like Quebec's legal system can't use the money being tied up in this matter for more important things. Seriously, use your heads.

All those in favour of dismissing this case as fast as humanly possible, please keep breathing. We'll let the police get back to doing what they do best, and allow Pacioretty and Chara to move on from this incident. Case closed.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

1 comment:

Bob said...

Apparently we take the game so seriously that we need to involve the authorities...
Problem is that's not the job we pay them for... Doesn't mean they are actually doing their job anyways!