Did you hear the story about the junior hockey coach that has a long history of coaching teams with a nasty tendency to purposely injure the top players from any opposing teams? That same coach has been in the same place for more than a dozen years and the behavior continues to go unpunished.
Like the zebra’s inability to change its stripes, while the players continue to roll in and out season after season, the story remains the same. The coach uses every opportunity to gain competitive advantages, regardless of the cost.
In almost every game this team plays, the opponent’s top player is often targeted and forced to endure a night of abuse that includes behind the play slashes, trips, butt-ends, and dangerous contact. All of that does not include the vile verbal exchanges that comes with the experience.
Junior players are resilient when it comes to such abuse, and that’s especially true for the better players. But there is always going to be a limit to just how much any one can take. That is especially the case when the intensity of the targeting results in a serious injury.
The situation becomes infuriating when it has become obvious that the on ice officials are turning a blind eye to what is going on. Just how many “I did not see that” reactions from the referee can any player, or his coach, endure?
Instead of doing something to correct the problem, hockey’s leadership has elected to overlook the issues to gain an important market. What is it going to take to get leadership’s attention? Does a player have to suffer a permanent injury, or even death?
There is an incredible gulf of difference between a hard-hitting physical team and one that has a long history of being little more than a dirty pile of manure.
The only thing more embarrassing than having to see the behavior with my own eyes this past weekend, is having to hear the complaints of parents, one after another.
Now, here is my biggest fear. When something serious does go wrong, and it will, what parties are going to have the most exposure to liability? There have been a dozen years of complaints regarding this coach and team, so how can any league defend letting the baloney continue?
They cannot. And for that reason alone, it is time to put an end to it.
Everyone that has been forced to endure the abuse this season has to push the issue to leadership. There needs to be an investigation and consequences. Any coach that encourages a continued culture of dangerous play needs to be removed from the game.
To keep my job, I am not going to disclose the coach’s name, his team, or even the league. The funny part is that I do not have to. The situation is so well known that almost everyone on the continent already knows who I am talking about.
When it is all said and done, I cannot help but feel that leadership will do the right thing and immediately address the issue. If they refuse to, it is going to be amazingly easy for any personal injury attorney to cash in on that incompetence when the coach’s behavior does result in a serious injury.