The Niagara News is the community newspaper of Niagara College located in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada. It is created and produced by the students of the Niagara College Journalism program.
Headshots hurt the game of hockey. They cause unnecessary violence in an already violent game. They cause irreversible damage to a player’s brain, and they give the game a bad image.
Nicholas Van Dyk, 19, a student at Niagara College’s Welland campus, says hockey is a sport and sometimes, in sports, people get hurt. He also says the hits make the game better.
"The hits and fighting gives hockey pizzazz. It gives the game life," he says.
A player getting a shoulder to the head and spinning in mid-air may seem exciting at first, and it’s sure to be a YouTube classic, but after the player stays unconscious for a few moments, there isn’t a fan in the arena still cheering on the hit.
Alexandra Kaufman, a Pre-Media and Design student, says hockey is a game, but it isn’t the Ultimate Fighting Championship, so injury-causing hits shouldn’t happen. Kaufman says she wants kids and adults to realize these types of hits aren’t safe.
While shots to the head have always been in the game, with the evolution of the equipment and the increased size and speed of the players, the hits today are far worse than they’ve ever been.
In recent years, elbow and shoulders pads have been enhanced to protect the players wearing them, but the increased size and strength of the equipment has put the safety of other players at risk of harder hits to the head.
Rob Deak, 23, of Niagara Falls, says accidents happen and hitting is just part of hockey. He says players know that the potential for head injuries is always there and that it’s just part of what they
do for a living.
Michael Hurtubise, 26, of Sudbury, is in the Literacy and Basic Skills Upgrading program.
He says the players know what they’re doing when they make the hit, and most of the injuries can be avoided. He also says he thinks some of the players need to take an anger-management course.
"I think that mostly they get angry and do something they wouldn’t normally do," he says.
When players are injured because of the irresponsible play of another, everyone loses.
The fans lose the chance to see a star player in action (Sidney Crosby). A team can also lose out on a playoff spot (Brad Richards and the Dallas Stars). Players can have their lives permanently changed and possibly lose out on the remainder of their careers too (Marc Savard).