Saturday, 28 February 2009

The Fifth Estate

As a Canadian, we seem to take for granted the amount of quality homegrown television we have on the air. Sure, I've spoken at length about how important Hockey Night In Canada is across this great country of ours, but there is so much more that should be talked about. Granted, this isn't a TV blog, but the CBC does so much for this country with its other programs as well. One of those programs is the investigative news show called The Fifth Estate. Like NBC's Dateline or ABC's 20/20, The Fifth Estate asks the hard questions on the sensitive subjects. Last night was no different.

Yeah, it seems weird of me to be sitting home on a Friday night watching Canada's public broadcasting station, but that's what I did last night. Ok, not all of the night. Just from 9pm until 10pm. Why, you ask? Fighting in hockey.

As you know, I wrote a couple of pieces back in January regarding "the code" and how fighting has changed in the NHL since thew 1980s (find them here, here, and here). While I don't have access to the personalities and people involved in the game, Bob McKeown does through the CBC. And he uses this access to speak to some of the advocates for and against fighting: Don Cherry, Bob McCown, Marty McSorley, Nick Kypreos, Jim Kyte, Dean Brown, Georges Laraque, Jon "Nasty" Mirasty, and Brian Burke.

Let me make something clear: I am not condoning fighting, but I am not against it. There is a time and place for it, and it should never appear in developmental leagues where players are younger than 21. This includes the OHL, QMJHL, and WHL despite there being a willingness to "do whatever is necessary" to make it to the next level. Once you turn pro and are of adult age across North America, you can decide how you want to play the game. But there is not one developmental league that specifically trains enforcers to fight. None. Zero. Zilch.

What Bob McKeown has done with his investigative report is put fighting up for debate. Everyone he interviewed has a different opinion on fighting, but each person feels that mandatory equipment and the instigator rule, it seems, would make fighting safer for all involved.

I'll let you decide on your own. I'm not here to tell you what is right and what is wrong when it comes to fighting in hockey. That's totally up to you, depending on your beliefs and involvement in the game. What I will do is link up the CBC pieces with each person, as well as the entire story. It's up to you to watch them, and it's totally up to you to decide whether or not fighting belongs in hockey.

Please click here for CBC's The Fifth Estate page on fighting in hockey.

If you'd like to contact The Fifth Estate for more information, please click here for the webform. If you'd like a transcript or a video recording of the broadcast, please feel free to call them at 1-800-363-1281.

This is a fantastic piece, and I am thoroughly impressed with The Fifth Estate's thoroughness on this subject. And the best part? It's not some TMZ-style gossip crap. It is real reporting on a subject that we all have an opinion on.

This is why The Fifth Estate continues to rack up awards for their reporting. Well done, CBC, The Fifth Estate, and Bob McKeown!

My question to you - what do you think of the piece, of fighting in hockey, and of the opinions of the people interviewed? Let me know in the comments. I am very interested to see what everyone thinks.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!


Anonymous said...

It was typical 5th estate, creepy music, stuff out of context, nicely edited. But a fair comment overall.
Now lets talk about Don Cherry - can you say "dinosour?" He has had his day in my opinion. He is so down on non good old boy canadian players it is really enough. And his latest trashing of Ovechkin, his comments on Mats Sundin, and his comments on good old boy willie mitchell coming back to play the same period after nearly losing an eye... visor boys are wimps... har har har.
Don does some good stuff, like showing 30 clips of dudes crashing into the boards on icing chase calls. Change the rule he says...
So Don, you have good days and bad days like anybody else. But your stance on staged puck drop fights is really off the mark, along with your stance on the Euro players. Give it a break, you just look like a goon.

JTH said...

OK, this is pretty well off the topic, but as the father of three kids age 5 and under, I can say that there are some great children's shows that are Canadian-produced.

The Backyardigans is a family favorite. I've caught myself (more than once) letting the kids watch a little extra TV before bedtime so that I could watch the rest of the episode.