By Ken Reed
The nation is still abuzz over the great hockey game between the United States and Russia at the Olympic Games last week. The USA scored a thrilling shootout victory over the Russians.
The Olympics are providing us an entertaining hockey tournament that highlights skill over the thuggery too often on display in the NHL.
According to Paul Busch, who runs a great website called “It’s Not Part of the Game,” there have only been eight fights in 500 Olympic hockey games since 1960.
In his blog, Busch builds a rational, fact-based, well-sourced argument for the elimination of fighting from the NHL and other levels of hockey. His recent entry on the difference between Olympic and NHL hockey is spot on.
“It would appear that the difference between the Olympics and the NHL is about attitude,” writes Busch. “One focuses on the sport and attempts to keep the side show out of the game. The other tolerates an activity that has nothing to do with hockey and everything about promoting violence and retribution.”
An apt conclusion, but Busch goes even deeper.
“The Olympics is a truly special event that can be held up as an example of hockey that focuses on skill and reduced violence through enforcement of the rules,” writes Busch.
“The real reason that you cannot compare it to the NHL has nothing to do with the length of the tournament or the higher level of skill involved. It has everything to do with the ideals that are represented and what they believe is part of the game. The NHL and NHLPA cling to the myths of enforcement while what they really want is revenge. They believe that cheap shots and violence is controlled by allowing players to punch each other repeatedly in the head. The discussion should be about attitude, not about rules or the size of the ice.”
Busch asks a poignant question:
“If the Olympics can deliver high intensity and entertaining hockey without fighting, then why does the NHL continue to tolerate it?”
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.” We discuss overzealous adults in youth sports, the dangers of sport specialization, youth sports entrepreneurs and the profit-at-all-costs mindset, and the growing socio-economic gap in youth sports.
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Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
Episode #22 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Rethinking Sports Fandom with Author Craig Calcaterra – We discuss Calcaterra’s new book “Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game” and explore new ways to be a fan.
Episode #21 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Chatting About a Broken Game With Baseball Writer Pedro Moura – Moura is a national baseball writer for Fox Sports. We discuss how and why the game of baseball is broken, what factors caused it, and offer a few thoughts on how to “fix” a great game.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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