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Confessions of a Former Ice Hockey Fan – Love Will Prevail

March 4, 2017

I’ve been an NHL ice hockey fan for the better part of 35 years and today, sadly, I am dropping my support of the sport with my time, my money and my attention. Over and over again the talk of what should be done about the fighting in the game has been brought up from player’s perspectives, media perspectives and fan perspectives. After very serious and a long deliberation, I cannot continue to encourage children to listen to some of the public statements of those who believe that fighting is what ice hockey about.

To the players who do it for a living, they should really be seeing the clear and very real damages that have happened over years of full-bore fists in faces and total brutality. Many of the injuries which have occurred in the league could have been avoided. I have never thought that people who play ice hockey at such a high competitive level are “sissies” even in games without much fighting. It is physically demanding. It is a contact sport. It is not that easy to play. I do know this, because I learned to play and even at the house league level, with other athletic pursuits already under my belt, I can’t honestly say I wasn’t appreciating the level of difficulty and commitment it takes to play ice hockey at a high level for a living. It isn’t like any other sport. Injuries should only be happening because two guys collide while going for the puck or because a player loses an edge and hits a post or the boards at an unfortunate angle. An injury like having a frozen rubber puck shot at high speeds ranging from 35 mph – 105 mph smacking a player in the mouth is unavoidable. Even with zero gloves dropped, the game is dangerous enough. Fighting doesn’t make them men, playing elite level ice hockey and working together as a one unit does.

The games I love watching the most are the games where a team battles in the corners, wins face-offs, communicates with each other and does those patient things that lead to quality time in the offensive zone, slowly but surely working together to get one through the other team, passed the goalie and into the net. That’s the beauty of hockey. Rock ’em, sock ’em ice hockey gets people’s lives damaged badly. To fans, those people are humans with lovers, parents, children and an ice hockey career is only about half their actual life. I don’t agree with rock’em, sock ’em enthusiasts. Many fans are blood thirsty. Many lives have been wrecked by straight violence. Many players in there later years suffer from types of dementia brought about by head trauma. It must end. I have prayed to God that a sharp decline in fighting in the NHL happens and happens quickly. There is plenty of evidence that good ice hockey happens when the men are actually playing ice hockey. I can’t laugh about the damage fighting has done so such a beautiful game.

I have always been the type of fan who immediately prays when a player gets injured, no matter how badly I want my team to win against that player’s team. A full on media blitz needs to become dominant across the internet, radio and television encouraging the good, well-played games, shifts and periods and the excitement and encouragement regarding full-on fighting needs to diminish immediately. The National Hockey League, The NHL Network, the individual clubs, the bloggers and the sports associated press must take this seriously. NOW.

For some of the more rude, cold, and uncaring fans and press, you should be better citizens and appreciate that people have died early deaths due to ice hockey related brutality. People have been crippled by ice hockey related injuries. Drastically reducing the fighting, will greatly increase EVERYONE’S enjoyment of the sport and will greatly reduce life-altering and possibly life-ending injuries in a sport that is already easy to sustain an injury in anyway.

No ice hockey game I have seen, and I have seen thousands of them has EVER been boring and the games I see the most beauty in are the games where the men just play hockey and few or no fights break out. All ice hockey franchises should staff a psychological/mental health professional to help players and staff with coping skills, after trauma, and assist the teams with situations involving, drug/alcohol abuse, gambling, personal life struggles, depression and helping teams adjust to a more positive, less fighting atmosphere. I have degrees in behavior. I was a competitive athlete. I won’t tell anyone that’s easy, but it is completely possible and it is the ONLY good, right thing to do for the sake of all those in the National Hockey League family.

Given my degrees, my experience playing competitively with males, my upbringing and my experience with military and law enforcement individuals, I know for  sure there is no other way, but to do everything the collective hockey people can do to remove fighting from the National Hockey League. It is imperative for the sake of the generations to come and it will save lives, brains, careers and families. There’s nothing “pussy” about the game without the fighting and harsh, total brutality. They will scrum. They will say not-so friendly things to each other. They will check and hit and bump and push each other. It will become a better tomorrow for many when all the big bad, macho men of the National Hockey League understand that accepting help and taking care of there physical and mental health in better ways will improve their lives both inside, and outside the glass.

Fans do NOT have the right in ice hockey arenas to use verbally abusive language, start fights, terrorize or bully other fans on the internet or off. You must adhere to the laws that pertain to you directly outside the arenas which are enforced by local police departments, even when you are inside an ice hockey arena. This is true in every single NHL city in both Canada and the United States. As for what is appropriate on the internet, I will gladly drag my tired self all the through the process of the Supreme Court in the United States, to establish a clear and understandable set of policies which will allow state and local governments the ability to make arrests and give judges the authority to have your computers, your internet rights and other rights removed from you if you continue to use bully, abusive, threatening language in public places fans and media. It must stop. Not later, NOW.

There are actual real terrorists in the world, we should all do our parts not to be like them. I do not stand with fans who think it’s funny that a player has to end his career due to an ice injury. I do not stand with the fans who think using filth, vile language is appropriate in an open internet or the open public. I do not stand with those who are in any country on this Earth who use the internet to cause or encourage harm to others. It will stop. As God as my witness, it will stop. Act now United States of America and Canada. National Hockey League fans should be encouraging good ice hockey, not terrorism, bullying, unsafe environments, harassment and brutality.

While I am only one fan and only one person, I am not alone in my thoughts. I know this to be true. The internet is not Rated like television and movies. Everyone who uses Twitter and other social media should be aware that you can be found. Teenagers often do not know what they are doing or saying. People from many different cultures exchange on the internet and often times, those exchanges are deviant, harmful, destructive, lies, scams, cult recruitment, people who write total untruth, predatory and downright vulgar. Hockey fans do need to curtail your use of social media when frustrated. Anti-terrorism groups from several nations do actually work together to stop certain activities on the internet. Be much wiser with your words ice hockey people. Angry people filled with hate, may the Good Lord Almighty find you and handle you as he sees fit, in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Play good hockey National Hockey League. Until then, Good bye.

Peace, Pastor Mia, @ganstahoflove You can choose love and life.

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