hockey-fights.com
Article by Peatycap    (05-05-11 12:29 PM)



http://sports.nationalpost.com/2011/05/05/as-a-fight er-in-hockey-you-live-i...

Sean Fitz-Gerald May 5, 2011 – 9:30 AM ET | Last Updated: May 4, 2011 9:57 PM ET

TORONTO — If it was Chicago, it might be two bottles of wine. They always seemed to have tough guys in Chicago, scary guys who would keep Jim Thomson awake the night before a game, and the extra wine at dinner helped to fortify him for what lay ahead.

Sometimes the anxiety led to more self-medication, pills that helped him get over the fear of being knocked unconscious in front of 20,000 fans. He was a fighter.

“As a fighter in hockey, you live in fear,” Thomson said.

He lived on the margins of the roster, protecting Wayne Gretzky one year, playing for the Phoenix Roadrunners the next. Thomson logged dozens of fights over a 115-game career, and when it ended, he suffered.

“I went through periods of depression,” he said. “I’m a recovering alcoholic. I believe a lot of my demons, if you will, came from hockey ending and the head blows and certain things that I wasn’t aware of.”

Now 45, Thomson said he “easily” suffered five or six concussions. During one stretch in the American Hockey League, he was punched so hard in a fight on Friday that he cannot remember what he did on the ice during Saturday or Sunday’s games.

On Wednesday, Thomson was among a collection of current and former athletes gathered at the Hockey Hall of Fame to promote a website (stopconcussions.com) designed to help educate athletes on the cause, effects and consequences of concussion. Retired NHL star Keith Primeau was the keynote speaker, but Thomson delivered perhaps the most radical solution to reducing the risk on the ice.

The former fighter would like a blanket ban on fighting in hockey.

“Get it out,” he said. “I mean, come on, why do we need it?”

He referred to it, more than once, as “bare-knuckle fighting.”

“I am tired of sitting with my kids and two guys drop the gloves, and I’m waiting for a guy to be shaking on the ice in a seizure or knocked out,” he said. “It’s an ugly scene.”

According to hockeyfights.com, the online authority on such matters, Thomson fought 31 times in the NHL. He had 12 in one season with the Los Angeles Kings, including two on the same night, when he fought Mike Peluso and Stu Grimson in Chicago.

Thomson said someone sent him a tape not that long ago, featuring 82 of his fights. In the old days, he might have called his friends over to watch. Instead, he watched with a sense of alarm, wondering about the long-lasting damage he might have incurred.

“I was on death row for a while,” he said. “This was after hockey — I was so depressed, everything came to an end, and I went bankrupt. All of these things just end. I look back on it, and it’s all a big mess. It’s all a big foggy mess.”

There is no question in his mind that depression led to his drinking problem. Leaving the game and the lifestyle behind contributed to his depression, but the stories rushing across the sporting landscape about the troubles facing oft-concussed former athletes make him wonder what role his own repeated head trauma might have played.

“I believe it’s all in one,” he said. “The brain just keeps getting hit, hit and hit.”

Former National Football League safety Andre Waters was one of the first retired athletes to be diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative disease associated with repeated brain trauma. Waters killed himself, at age 44, with signs of early-stage Alzheimer’s and the brain tissue consistent of a man almost twice his age.

That was four years ago. More have since been diagnosed — all post-mortem, because the testing requires brain tissue — including former NHLers Reggie Fleming and Bob Probert, whom Thomson counted as a friend.

“As this gets more out there, my kids are asking me, ‘Dad, do you think this will affect you?’ ” he said. “Bob Probert was very close to me and my kids. We did that movie Love Guru together. Bob lived with me for five months, and my kids got really attached to him.”

Thomson has five children. He said he has been sober for three years and now works as a motivational speaker.

After dozens of fights — “I remember a lot of them, and I remember getting rocked” — there is one speech he still cannot deliver. He does not know what to say when his children ask if their father will end up like Probert, or like the stories of other troubled former athletes they have started to watch on the news.

“I can’t answer it,” Thomson said. “Who knows?”

Does that prospect scare him?

“Damn right it scares me,” he said. “We used to smoke everywhere in the country. Smoked in movies, smoked in airplanes. And finally we realized it’s going to kill you. And this is kind of the same situation.”

• Email: sfitzgerald@nationalpost.com | Twitter: @SeanFitz_Gerald

 
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Badlands92
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05-05-11 12:46 PM - Post#1312178    


    In response to Peatycap

A preachy recovering alcoholic? You don't say.

It's a touching story, but full of the usual "how soon until someone dies?" hysterics. I realize hindsight is 20/20, but Thomson had the choice back then to retire from hockey and work in a factory or something. Professional sports come with the risk of injury. Risk vs. Reward, right?
I expect to play every day. That's our job. You go out there every day and contribute in some way.

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Kramer
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05-05-11 12:56 PM - Post#1312186    


    In response to Badlands92

I blame 442 for this!
"Now, now, lay off Detroit. Them people is living in 'Mad Max' times." -Moe Syzlak

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goldthorpe
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05-05-11 02:12 PM - Post#1312230    


    In response to Kramer

Jim Thomson coming out of the woodwork.
Maybe some players need to be on a roster to make a living, Jim. Guys like Trevor Gillies and Eric Godard. Easy for a guy to say, "eliminate fighting", when you're out of the game. But some guys make a living off it.
“O'Henry? That's one of the top-selling candy bars. It's got chocolate, peanuts, nougat, it's delicious, scrumptious, outstanding!" - Jackie Chiles



 
442nd
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05-05-11 02:18 PM - Post#1312234    


    In response to goldthorpe

Ha ha, I could only show you the email he and I exchanged.

"Someone" who made him a DVD (tape) of his 82 fights is me.

The entire article is complete bullshit. We worked together for 2 weeks compiling his footage, categorizing, identifying and finally producing it.

He's another hypocrite who's only interest is the spotlight. He was happier than a pig in shit the whole time we were making it, and couldn't wait for it to be done. So he could show everybody he knows.

Liar....Liar....Liar...Liar
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442nd
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05-05-11 02:18 PM - Post#1312235    


    In response to Kramer

  • Kramer Said:
I blame 442 for this!



LOL, yup.
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442nd
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05-05-11 02:20 PM - Post#1312236    


    In response to goldthorpe

  • goldthorpe Said:
Jim Thomson coming out of the woodwork.
Maybe some players need to be on a roster to make a living, Jim. Guys like Trevor Gillies and Eric Godard. Easy for a guy to say, "eliminate fighting", when you're out of the game. But some guys make a living off it.



Thats exactly what I told him.....Oh the email I sent him and the author of the story.

Then Sean turns around and says he wants to call me to talk....F- U!
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CRussell
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05-05-11 02:30 PM - Post#1312238    


    In response to 442nd

He could have opted to work 9-5:30 everyday in a cubicle like me. Would that be fun now?


 
442nd
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05-05-11 02:34 PM - Post#1312241    


    In response to CRussell

You don't know the anger I felt reading that. And trust me, the entire story is completely bogus. Everything he says here contradicts everything we discussed. About when he played, his best pal Probie, defending Gretzky, why enforcing is necessary.....

The best part....

"In the old days he would've called his friends to come over and watch. Instead he watched with alarm".


When I told him it was finished, and the intro was available to watch on the web. He said, "I'm too excited, I'd rather watch the whole thing with my family and friends".....WTF????
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DPR4444
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05-05-11 03:02 PM - Post#1312246    


    In response to CRussell

  • CRussell Said:
He could have opted to work 9-5:30 everyday in a cubicle like me. Would that be fun now?





me too. and I probably drink more than he did.

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FreezingTexan
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05-05-11 03:48 PM - Post#1312263    


    In response to DPR4444

no shit
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Huard28
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05-05-11 07:49 PM - Post#1312303    


    In response to FreezingTexan

I met him a couple years ago when he worked with my buddy's brother's brother in law. Figure that out. They worked for some industrial oil construction company, or something to that effect. Jim is just in love with himself and is right out in left field. He may have quit drinking but I am sure is hitting the pot or other drugs heavy. He dresses like a fruit, and thinks he's the coolest shit around. He shoots his mouth off constantly and get this, started his own motivational speaking business which he thinks he knows the shit of human evolution and pathways people should take!?!? I have mixed feelings on that from my experience and the stories I heard about him. I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, but I just didn't feel comfortable around this guy. HE was funny at first, but got weird real fast. 442 I am sure can attest to this. Not sure he's all there, but a character that hasn't been quite figured out yet for sure.
"I never participate in the game anymore. It doesn't work. I am too bad. I only fight". - Link Gaetz


 
Badduke14
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05-05-11 08:59 PM - Post#1312316    


    In response to Huard28

So tired of hearing from former enforcers calling for an end to fighting.
One former player who will remain anonymous said they have to get rid of the "staged fights". This coming from a player who his entire career revolved around "staged fights". Funny how former enforcers become doctors & hypocrites only after they retire.
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Baldridge
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05-05-11 09:42 PM - Post#1312328    


    In response to Badduke14

Since when is Hockeyfights.com the authority on the subject?.......
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Harpoon
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05-06-11 08:07 AM - Post#1312371    


    In response to Baldridge

Maybe hypocritical, but that is what people do when they get older and look back on some of the dangerous shit they used to do. Life seems a little more fragile and the risk analysis changes. He may come off as a self serving ingrate in the article, but I suspect he just doesn't want others to go through the tough times that he did. We all are going to urge our kids not to a bunch of the depraved crap we did when we were younger, even though we had a fucking blast at the time.
"If I hadn't learned to lay on a two-hander once in a while, I'd never have left Flin Flon." Bobby Clarke


 
442nd
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05-06-11 08:24 AM - Post#1312373    


    In response to Harpoon

Agreed, Harpoon. However, it's "you", meaning that person who decides what they want to do with their future. Sure your parents have their own personal idea of how to mold their kids. Ultimately, in the end, it's the kid who makes the final decision.

So far, all of the players I've interviewed, had no intention of fighting when they entered Jr. This includes, Link Gaetz. And we all know of Link's storied past.

These kids get to a point in their extremely short career in their late teens. They can see the light at the end of the tunnel. They've been a player who was looked to, to provide leadership, and in most cases points, for the teams they played for. Where they grew up. When they get to the level in Junior where they are the best in town anymore. They find there's 20 some other kids on their team who are just as good and in most cases, a lot better.

They have to make a decision. Do I want to continue? Or do I want to end it here? The larger majority choose to end it there. That extremely small group decide, "I've got to do more to get noticed". It's either going to be, score more goals and points. Of fight. Scoring more goals and points is a whole hell of a lot easier said than done.

I'm not going to say fighting is easy. It takes a huge set of balls to change what you've done for years into a player who will now be the go to guy when it's necessary to draw a line and set a precedent for the other team to see. Fighting however is an easier transition than trying to score more. These kids who want to continue to play, choose that path and make a career of it, if they can.

I have three boys, just like, Jim. And just like a lot of you. And just like a lot of the players playing in todays game. Do I want my boys to aspire to be a punching bag, or some teams goon?

Hell no, I want my kids to play the game and enjoy it. If they get to a point where they've made a name for themselves, and have gotten enough notice to get to the next level. I would certainly hope they go out each game and continue to play and offer 100% to their team. In the end it will be their decision what they do with their future. Sure I will have my own opinion and offer my fatherly advice. Ultimately, my kids will have the final decision. They'll be old enough, and it will be up to them what they will do with their future. Not me.

Jim says, "TAKE FIGHTING OUT". I've got news, Jim. Take it out, and the NHL will cave. As much as these idiots tend to think punching is what gives the majority of the players concussions. It's not. It's the checks from behind. High hits, blind side hits and cheapshots. Fighting is fighting. It's entertainment, and it's a big part of what draws the fans to watch.

The crybabies can keep crying to get face time on somebody's camera, or somebody's rags. Fighting will never leave the game.
I leave the site now, RIGHT NOW.
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Harpoon
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05-06-11 08:52 AM - Post#1312376    


    In response to 442nd

442, excellent post.

I completely agree and think I failed to see Jim's ultimate point -- that NOBODY should BE ABLE to fight. I understand a former player warning kids of the potential risks of going down that path - in fact I think its an admirable thing to do. But its a whole different matter to say that because "I" disagree with that choice, that NOBODY should be able to make that choice.
"If I hadn't learned to lay on a two-hander once in a while, I'd never have left Flin Flon." Bobby Clarke


 
Kramer
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05-06-11 09:29 AM - Post#1312383    


    In response to 442nd

  • 442nd Said:
Agreed, Harpoon. However, it's "you", meaning that person who decides what they want to do with their future. Sure your parents have their own personal idea of how to mold their kids. Ultimately, in the end, it's the kid who makes the final decision.

So far, all of the players I've interviewed, had no intention of fighting when they entered Jr. This includes, Link Gaetz. And we all know of Link's storied past.

These kids get to a point in their extremely short career in their late teens. They can see the light at the end of the tunnel. They've been a player who was looked to, to provide leadership, and in most cases points, for the teams they played for. Where they grew up. When they get to the level in Junior where they are the best in town anymore. They find there's 20 some other kids on their team who are just as good and in most cases, a lot better.

They have to make a decision. Do I want to continue? Or do I want to end it here? The larger majority choose to end it there. That extremely small group decide, "I've got to do more to get noticed". It's either going to be, score more goals and points. Of fight. Scoring more goals and points is a whole hell of a lot easier said than done.

I'm not going to say fighting is easy. It takes a huge set of balls to change what you've done for years into a player who will now be the go to guy when it's necessary to draw a line and set a precedent for the other team to see. Fighting however is an easier transition than trying to score more. These kids who want to continue to play, choose that path and make a career of it, if they can.

I have three boys, just like, Jim. And just like a lot of you. And just like a lot of the players playing in todays game. Do I want my boys to aspire to be a punching bag, or some teams goon?

Hell no, I want my kids to play the game and enjoy it. If they get to a point where they've made a name for themselves, and have gotten enough notice to get to the next level. I would certainly hope they go out each game and continue to play and offer 100% to their team. In the end it will be their decision what they do with their future. Sure I will have my own opinion and offer my fatherly advice. Ultimately, my kids will have the final decision. They'll be old enough, and it will be up to them what they will do with their future. Not me.

Jim says, "TAKE FIGHTING OUT". I've got news, Jim. Take it out, and the NHL will cave. As much as these idiots tend to think punching is what gives the majority of the players concussions. It's not. It's the checks from behind. High hits, blind side hits and cheapshots. Fighting is fighting. It's entertainment, and it's a big part of what draws the fans to watch.

The crybabies can keep crying to get face time on somebody's camera, or somebody's rags. Fighting will never leave the game.



I'm not going to call you out per se, because it's not the point of your post, but as far as "no intention of fighting" when they entered juniors, that is a bit of a misleading statement and one I would NEVER buy. Most of them will say, they hadn't fought until Jr's. I think it's a VERY safe bet to assume when you go the CHL route (Q, O, W), you're going to fight at some point (especially in the older days), and that's coming from players who have done it and said that very thing. In fact, many kids have to choose between College & Jr. at that point of their hockey career - 9/10 who enter the CHL say, "i wanted to come to the WHL because it was closer to my game, the NHL game, and it's more physical which was suited towards how I play", etc. etc. - that kind of thing.

So again, the only thing I'm saying here, and I've heard many enforcers say it is, "I hadn't fought until jrs, when I was in bantam or midget, or whatever previous level they had played, 'I was a goal scorer'. Then I got to the WHL, got into a fight, and did very well. My skills had tapered (as you allude to), and I found it was the best way to stay noticed by the scouts, and keep playing."

There is also the fact, that they were only introduced to fighting the previous year, prior to their junior draft. So it wasn't like they had a pile of chances. Many pre CHL junior leagues, or lower levels, will only let you fight once, so it doesn't happen as often.

Anyway, you touched upon it, but I think it was worth expounding on it a bit. All of those guys, once they went the CHL route, KNEW they would fight at some point. What they might not have expected, is that it would be their meal ticket.

Good post, and insight though.
"Now, now, lay off Detroit. Them people is living in 'Mad Max' times." -Moe Syzlak

RIP To The King - Bob Probert 1965-2010


 
442nd
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05-06-11 10:11 AM - Post#1312398    


    In response to Kramer

  • Kramer Said:
  • 442nd Said:
Agreed, Harpoon. However, it's "you", meaning that person who decides what they want to do with their future. Sure your parents have their own personal idea of how to mold their kids. Ultimately, in the end, it's the kid who makes the final decision.

So far, all of the players I've interviewed, had no intention of fighting when they entered Jr. This includes, Link Gaetz. And we all know of Link's storied past.

These kids get to a point in their extremely short career in their late teens. They can see the light at the end of the tunnel. They've been a player who was looked to, to provide leadership, and in most cases points, for the teams they played for. Where they grew up. When they get to the level in Junior where they are the best in town anymore. They find there's 20 some other kids on their team who are just as good and in most cases, a lot better.

They have to make a decision. Do I want to continue? Or do I want to end it here? The larger majority choose to end it there. That extremely small group decide, "I've got to do more to get noticed". It's either going to be, score more goals and points. Of fight. Scoring more goals and points is a whole hell of a lot easier said than done.

I'm not going to say fighting is easy. It takes a huge set of balls to change what you've done for years into a player who will now be the go to guy when it's necessary to draw a line and set a precedent for the other team to see. Fighting however is an easier transition than trying to score more. These kids who want to continue to play, choose that path and make a career of it, if they can.

I have three boys, just like, Jim. And just like a lot of you. And just like a lot of the players playing in todays game. Do I want my boys to aspire to be a punching bag, or some teams goon?

Hell no, I want my kids to play the game and enjoy it. If they get to a point where they've made a name for themselves, and have gotten enough notice to get to the next level. I would certainly hope they go out each game and continue to play and offer 100% to their team. In the end it will be their decision what they do with their future. Sure I will have my own opinion and offer my fatherly advice. Ultimately, my kids will have the final decision. They'll be old enough, and it will be up to them what they will do with their future. Not me.

Jim says, "TAKE FIGHTING OUT". I've got news, Jim. Take it out, and the NHL will cave. As much as these idiots tend to think punching is what gives the majority of the players concussions. It's not. It's the checks from behind. High hits, blind side hits and cheapshots. Fighting is fighting. It's entertainment, and it's a big part of what draws the fans to watch.

The crybabies can keep crying to get face time on somebody's camera, or somebody's rags. Fighting will never leave the game.





There is also the fact, that they were only introduced to fighting the previous year, prior to their junior draft. So it wasn't like they had a pile of chances. Many pre CHL junior leagues, or lower levels, will only let you fight once, so it doesn't happen as often.





That wasn't my point. My point is about the top level. Getting to the NHL.

My brother was a fighter, it's what he liked to do. Just like you say. However, he knew he was going nowhere. However, it wasn't what he aspired to do. My brother like to play a gritting game, mixing it up and scoring goals along the way. It wasn't until he was 16 when he realized, "I'm not going anywhere and this is it". Our coach pretty much let him loose to do as he pleased. So he gooned it up.

There's obviously kids whose only intention is to fight. Seriously though. Do you think a kid at 9-10 years old aspires to grow up and beat people up for a living? Do they work their ass off fighting all the way up through midget? I don't know what Canadien rules are in place for these levels. In the US though. You are "NOT" allowed to fight.

I'm not disagreeing with you either. Most kids are making their way with that aspiration they had growing up, to make it big. If they can stick one way or another and fighting will do the trick. They'll do it. In any pro league, as long as they can continue to play hockey and collect a pay check.

Kurtis Swanson fought because he got paid to do it. I'm not saying he didn't like his job. But he's a pipefitter for an oil company now. He left playing hockey for real money. The kind the pros don't pay for fighters in the lower ranking minor leagues. Same goes for Gaetz.

I know a lot of players who when they leave the game. If they didn't make much money during their career. They basically have nothing. They don't know what to do after hockey because they have no other skill set. It's primarily why they stay playing and fighting bouncing around from team to team....league to league collecting whatever they can.

Look at Brandon Sugden. Perfect example. When he's done, we'll see him on the news somewhere. Mostly likely, jail. Dudes a complete nut job.
I leave the site now, RIGHT NOW.
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Kramer
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05-06-11 10:21 AM - Post#1312415    


    In response to 442nd

  • 442nd Said:
  • Kramer Said:
  • 442nd Said:
Agreed, Harpoon. However, it's "you", meaning that person who decides what they want to do with their future. Sure your parents have their own personal idea of how to mold their kids. Ultimately, in the end, it's the kid who makes the final decision.

So far, all of the players I've interviewed, had no intention of fighting when they entered Jr. This includes, Link Gaetz. And we all know of Link's storied past.

These kids get to a point in their extremely short career in their late teens. They can see the light at the end of the tunnel. They've been a player who was looked to, to provide leadership, and in most cases points, for the teams they played for. Where they grew up. When they get to the level in Junior where they are the best in town anymore. They find there's 20 some other kids on their team who are just as good and in most cases, a lot better.

They have to make a decision. Do I want to continue? Or do I want to end it here? The larger majority choose to end it there. That extremely small group decide, "I've got to do more to get noticed". It's either going to be, score more goals and points. Of fight. Scoring more goals and points is a whole hell of a lot easier said than done.

I'm not going to say fighting is easy. It takes a huge set of balls to change what you've done for years into a player who will now be the go to guy when it's necessary to draw a line and set a precedent for the other team to see. Fighting however is an easier transition than trying to score more. These kids who want to continue to play, choose that path and make a career of it, if they can.

I have three boys, just like, Jim. And just like a lot of you. And just like a lot of the players playing in todays game. Do I want my boys to aspire to be a punching bag, or some teams goon?

Hell no, I want my kids to play the game and enjoy it. If they get to a point where they've made a name for themselves, and have gotten enough notice to get to the next level. I would certainly hope they go out each game and continue to play and offer 100% to their team. In the end it will be their decision what they do with their future. Sure I will have my own opinion and offer my fatherly advice. Ultimately, my kids will have the final decision. They'll be old enough, and it will be up to them what they will do with their future. Not me.

Jim says, "TAKE FIGHTING OUT". I've got news, Jim. Take it out, and the NHL will cave. As much as these idiots tend to think punching is what gives the majority of the players concussions. It's not. It's the checks from behind. High hits, blind side hits and cheapshots. Fighting is fighting. It's entertainment, and it's a big part of what draws the fans to watch.

The crybabies can keep crying to get face time on somebody's camera, or somebody's rags. Fighting will never leave the game.





There is also the fact, that they were only introduced to fighting the previous year, prior to their junior draft. So it wasn't like they had a pile of chances. Many pre CHL junior leagues, or lower levels, will only let you fight once, so it doesn't happen as often.





That wasn't my point. My point is about the top level. Getting to the NHL.

My brother was a fighter, it's what he liked to do. Just like you say. However, he knew he was going nowhere. However, it wasn't what he aspired to do. My brother like to play a gritting game, mixing it up and scoring goals along the way. It wasn't until he was 16 when he realized, "I'm not going anywhere and this is it". Our coach pretty much let him loose to do as he pleased. So he gooned it up.

There's obviously kids whose only intention is to fight. Seriously though. Do you think a kid at 9-10 years old aspires to grow up and beat people up for a living? Do they work their ass off fighting all the way up through midget? I don't know what Canadien rules are in place for these levels. In the US though. You are "NOT" allowed to fight.

I'm not disagreeing with you either. Most kids are making their way with that aspiration they had growing up, to make it big. If they can stick one way or another and fighting will do the trick. They'll do it. In any pro league, as long as they can continue to play hockey and collect a pay check.

Kurtis Swanson fought because he got paid to do it. I'm not saying he didn't like his job. But he's a pipefitter for an oil company now. He left playing hockey for real money. The kind the pros don't pay for fighters in the lower ranking minor leagues. Same goes for Gaetz.

I know a lot of players who when they leave the game. If they didn't make much money during their career. They basically have nothing. They don't know what to do after hockey because they have no other skill set. It's primarily why they stay playing and fighting bouncing around from team to team....league to league collecting whatever they can.

Look at Brandon Sugden. Perfect example. When he's done, we'll see him on the news somewhere. Mostly likely, jail. Dudes a complete nut job.



No, I agreed with you on that part. Nobody typically aspired to be a fighter, unless they were much older trying to continue to play or to get into it, ala Doug Smith.

I wasn't really disagreeing with you at all, just pointing out that these guys know what the CHL is all about prior to signing up.
"Now, now, lay off Detroit. Them people is living in 'Mad Max' times." -Moe Syzlak

RIP To The King - Bob Probert 1965-2010


 
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