Three Habs players (Andrei & Sergei Kostitsyn and Roman Hamrlik) were alleged to be friendly with 38-year-old Pasquale Mangiola, (an underworld figure accused of conspiracy, cocaine and weapons charges) who was arrested in a police sweep on Feb 12th. None of the players are accused of any wrongdoing, simply poor choice of companions
With all these WADA drug testing rules where athlete’s have to declare where they will be at a certain time, and now teams telling them who they can and cant be friends with, isn’t this a bit like being at school? Next thing you know, the next big scandal will be athlete fails to tidy his bedroom shocker!!!!
Rick Vaive (former captain for the Toronto Maple Leafs) believes that new rules are needed to curb fighting in professional ice hockey, because the fighting skills of the new generation of players, coupled with their size and strength have made the sport much more dangerous than it ever used to be. What has changed since Vaive’s time, is the fact that Canada has seen two recent tragedies in quick succession to Don Sanderson (who died earlier in January after hitting his head on the ice during a fight in Ontario) and to Garrett Klotz (who suffered a seizure and was taken to hospital after a fight in the AHL) and he hopes that the National Hockey League’s general managers make a serious attempt to examine the issue when they meet in March.
Indeed, one organisation – the Ontario Hockey Association has already made changes. From next season:
any player removing his helmet or undoing his chin strap during a fight will be given a gross misconduct penalty and an automatic one-game suspension. The player will be dealt the same penalty if he attempts to take off his opponent’s helmet.
Officials have also been instructed to be “more vigilant” in stopping fights.
The OHA will also work with helmet manufacturers and the Canadian Standards Association to determine whether the current fastening systems for helmets can be improved.
Players who drops the gloves regularly have also been targeted.
In addition to receiving an automatic game misconduct for fighting — a policy that was already in place — players who engage in three fights in a season will be given a one-game ban. A fourth fight will result in a two-game suspension, while a fifth fight will lead to a three-game ban. A sixth fighting major will result in an indefinite suspension.
Interestingly though, Dave Andrews (the AHL President) recently commented that: “Can you play without it? Obviously,” he said. “There is no way you can say fighting has to be part of hockey. There are all sorts of great hockey games that don’t have fights in them. I listened to the players in this debate and I haven’t heard any take the position we should eliminate fighting from the game, even the skilled guys.”
Mike Milbury (a commentator on popular CBC show – Hockey Night in Canada) has offended homosexuals by describing how stopping fighting in the NHL was akin to ‘pansification’.
Jeff KEay (network spokesman for the channel) has said that neither Milbury nor his fellow commentators intended to cause offence and instead argued that the colloquial use of the term has meant that the word is much more acceptable in today’s society!
This seems an argument that CBC are destined to lose. Just as Carol Thatcher got into trouble for allegedly referring to a black player as a ‘golliwog’ (see post below), so Milbury’s phrase is equally wrong. Yes, I know what he intended to say – that reducing hockey to a gentle mild-mannered non-contact sport would be wrong, and yes I know the term ‘pansy’ is in the common vernacular, but that does not make it any more acceptable. Free speech is one thing, but using this phrase, not once but repeatedly, seems rather ill-judged.
Is it ever acceptable to call somebody a ‘golliwog’? Even as a joke? This was a debate brought up following Carol Thatcher’s comments while relaxing in the Green Lounge immediately after appearing on BBC One’s “The One Show”. The Daily Mail reports that when talking about the recent Australian Open, Carol Thatcher referred to French tennis player Jo-Wilfried Tsonga as “you know, that froggy golliwog guy.”
Despite these remarks apparently being immediately challenged by comedienne Jo Brand and presenter Adrian Chiles, who were in the room at the time, Thatcher refused to offer an unqualified apology, “as she had nothing to say sorry for as it was a light-hearted remark, said in private, which had not been transmitted.” Thatcher later apologised for her remarks to the BBC, but this apology was apparently rejected as not being fulsome enough. Her spokeman also confirmed that, “Carol never intended any racist comments, she made a light aside about this tennis player and his similarity to the golliwog on the jam pot when she was growing up. There’s no way, obviously, that she would condone any racist comment – we would refute that entirely. It would not be in her nature to do anything like that.”
Thatcher has since been sacked from the show, while Tsonga himself has repeatedly refused to be drawn into the row.
Labour politician, Jennette Arnold explains why many people found this comment offensive: “The symbolism of the golliwog is colonialist, racist, and harks back to time when black people were dismissed as slave, servant, and figures of fun. It is an image associated with the demeaning of black people. There are no second chances when anyone in public life uses such offensive language…”
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Kris is a Senior Lecturer, and Co-Director of the Centre for International Sports Law (CISL) at Staffordshire University, UK. He originally trained and competed as an elite gymnast until a shoulder injury at university forced him to retire as an active competitor. He now spends his spare time coaching Trampolining, Gymnastics, DMT, Cheerleading, Parkour and anything that involves throwing yourself through the air with various degrees of twist and rotation!
Jon is an Associate Professor, and Co-Director of the Centre for International Sports Law (CISL) at Thompson Rivers University, British Columbia. Jon worked as a climbing guide, trained and coordinated search and rescue, managed risk and sales in the United States with a European-based manufacturer of outdoor equipment and advised recreation programmes on their exposure to legal risk. His extra-curricular background is just as diverse and includes stints playing semi-pro volleyball in Brazil, researching wolves in the Canadian Rockies, climbing and leading expeditions from Alaska to Argentina, Tajikistan to the Tetons, and many points in between. He has been married to Wendy for 15 years and together they have 2 wonderful kids – Tegan (10) and Brock (8) – whom he continues to emotionally scar as their football coach!