So When Did Hockey Players Stop Being Gentleman?

By Steve Palumbo

There seems to be an increased amount of unsportsmanlike nonsense infiltrating the great sport of hockey. In fact it’s safe to say that it’s reached epidemic proportions throughout all levels of hockey from youth right on up to the professionals. What ever happened to hockey players being gentlemen?

When I was growing up I always believed that hockey players exuded sportsmanship and fair play. They played one of the hardest hitting, yet beautiful sports and they did it with honor and respect for their fellow player. But these days one could assume it’s the complete opposite.

Hockey has received some pretty dubious negative press recently, from cheap shots to racial slurs, hockey’s had it’s fair share of black eyes this season alone. In just the last couple of weeks three high-profile players have been accused of spitting at their opponents and coaches. Spitting? Really? What sane person does that?

The players seem to forget the NHL is the only professional sport that awards a “player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.” Players should take pride in earning the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy. I’m pretty sure Marie Evelyn Moreton, for who the trophy is named, who be turning over in her grave if she bore witness to all the shenanigans taking place around the sport.

People that don’t understand the sport continue to argue that fighting detracts from the game and promotes unnecessary violence. It’s complete and utter hogwash. In fact fighting keeps these guys in check. When a players drops the gloves it sends a reminder to the other team that perhaps they should not do that again next time. Players will remember to keep their elbows down and their spit to themselves. As fighting decreases it allows the true buffoonery to take over like a horrific virus.

If hockey expects to grab a bigger market share of the sports viewing audience they need to cut this crap out. This is not the mean streets and players don’t earn “street cred” by the amount of idiotic things they do. This is not something a Brendan Shanahan video can fix. The players themselves need to take back control of their game. The players need to respect one another and take pride in the jersey’s on their backs. The players need to bring the gentleman back into “gentlemanly play.”

If they can’t than hockey will go the same route as dinosaurs and the dodo birds. It will become extinct.

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