Outside of boxing
and martial arts, ice hockey is arguably the most violent amongst major sports. So why do so many more National Football
League and National Basketball Association athletes face domestic violence
charges than professional hockey players?
Hockey has had a
few incidents, Slava Voynov comes to mind, but they are few and far between.
I think it comes
down to the fact that hockey players get the benefit of positive male role
models at each level of the developmental ladder. Yes, there are few bad apples within the
coaching profession, but the game has a way of weeding the bad guys out.
There are also not
a lot of players at the professional level that grew up without a father. Let’s face it, domestic hockey is a very expensive
endeavor that has a serious economic strain on most single parents. The majority of players grow up in the families
with both mom and dad in the house. Those realities are telltale signs of a stable
There’s a big
difference between accusation and conviction.
We also know that high profile athletes are subject to fraudulent allegations.
I feel that most players will give each
other the benefit of the doubt. With
that said, I also know that the locker room itself can become a very violent
place for the player that steps outside the lines and batters a woman.
Hockey players generally
learn at an early age about acceptable behavior on and off the ice. Our athletes don’t two-hand the referees or
hit their mothers, sisters, girlfriends or wives. There are also the social realities of the brotherhood among players. Hitting a girl is not cool and would not be tolerated in most locker rooms.
Players need to
protect themselves by avoiding potentially dangerous situations and
relationships. It’s funny how a
promiscuous player finds himself in more awkward situations then another player
in a committed relationship.
Boys, I’ve said it
before and will say it again, the last thing any of you need is a scorned
father was an alcoholic and battered my mother.
He died when I was seven but left me with vivid memories of witnessing
the abuse of my mom. I’m almost 53 and still have issues erasing those
memories. I never drink to excess and am
very careful to avoid physical conflicts.
is an issue that hits very close to home for many of us. Maybe that’s the reason I’ve grown so close to
the game… because I know that behavior will never be tolerated.
know what and who to hit… and exactly
who not to hit. That's just another reason why
I love this game.
Stephen Heisler has spent a lifetime in the game of hockey. Stephen is also working with individual teams, coaches, and players as a director with the Heisler Hockey Group. Stephen and his family spend most of their time in Florida.
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