Sunday, 13 March 2011

More Negative Manitoba Hockey Headlines

I want to bring to light a very disturbing video that made headlines all over the news in Manitoba. Hockey, as I'm sure you're aware, is something about which Manitobans are very passionate. The fact that this made headlines on all of the newscasts in Winnipeg should tell you something about how high Manitobans hold the game. It may also show you an ugly side of the game that we need to be very open about when talking to the next generation of players.

I'll frame the game for you. It's a playoff series in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League between the Portage Terriers of Portage la Prairie and the Swan Valley Stampeders. The Terriers are leading the series by a 3-2 margin, and are up 4-1 late in Game Six. With about 16 seconds to play, we catch up with the video.

This is entirely what hockey needs to eliminate. Players like Jesse Enns, the Stampeder player who skated full-tilt into the corner, need to be removed entirely from the game.

I'm speechless, readers. Enns drilled Terriers' defender Tyler Harland into the boards head-first. It's an absolute miracle that Harland was able to skate off the ice under his own power. I'm stunned that he was even able to get up after a disgusting disregard for human life and safety shown by Enns.

I might be speaking emotionally here, but I feel that Enns should lose all privileges when it comes to playing the game. Ban him for life. Give the kid a lot of time to reflect on the absolute stupidity of his actions, the extremely poor decision he made when he took off from center ice and hurled himself into an unsuspecting player, and the opportunity to see the potential devastation he could have caused to another player, a family, and many lives. I see no other punishment that would fit the crime. And it's not the result that we're talking about here - I want the punishment to fit the crime committed.

MJHL Commissioner Kim Davis will undoubtedly be reviewing not only the hit by Enns on Harland, but the spontaneous fight involving the two coaches on the bench after the officials ended the game. Davis has been an advocate for cleaning up the game from his league's point of view, so I expect harsh penalties for all involved.

I love going to watch MJHL games when I get the opportunity, but this display left a bad taste in my mouth. And if Enns is let off the hook because Harland wasn't seriously hurt, I may just take to the streets and demand justice on this one.

What say you, readers?

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!


Meg said...

Fantastic post, and I could not agree with you more. Nothing will change in the NHL culture if this is what kids do when they're coming up.

Peter K. said...

As excessive as the hit was, a life time ban is a bit much. Sadly, Todd Bertuzzi was let back on the ice for a truly criminal act. His (Bertuzzi) punishment merely coincided with the lost season, but that was one that called for a life time ban.

This kid, needs to be punished. A 2 season suspension would be just. To take away his right to make a living or compete competitively at all would not allow him any redemption at all.

To permanently strip away his opportunity to play further on at some point, to allow for some redemption. Now, if the player he hit was injured any further, or injury is yet to be seen (say a concussion), then I would discuss his dismissal from hockey even longer.

Granted, where I live in the US (in the lower Hudson Valley, NY) we don't have such coverage of junior league games. So I don't know if he's a repeat offender or anything...but a lifetime ban is way too harsh. losing 2 years/seasons at this level would be hard enough to climb back from, but he has to have the opportunity to redeem himself. I would look more to the coaches for the fight. I give the players alot of credit for not escalating into a full blown brawl...(the announcer did use a little hyperbole in his excitement), Alot of restraint was shown and credit to the officials for keeping a lid on a boiling pot.

Thanks Teebz!