By Ken Reed
Every now and then I feel a twinge of optimism that hockey is moving in a positive direction … finally. It could be news that a minor league has banned fighting, or a hockey association at some level announcing new concussion evaluation and return-to-play guidelines. Someone mentioned to me recently that there’s fewer pure thugs in the NHL these days. Cool, I thought.
Then there’s nights like this past Thursday.
The Detroit Red Wings were playing in Denver against the Colorado Avalanche. The opening puck was dropped and … 44 seconds — seconds — later the Avs Nathan MacKinnon dropped his gloves and started fighting Jonathan Ericsson of the Red Wings. McKinnon is a talented 19-year-old, not a crusty old veteran trying to hang on any way possible. I was hoping the younger generation of hockey stars was playing without the barbaric mentality of older generations. No such luck apparently.
“It was a big game, and I asked him to fight,” said MacKinnon “He said yes. It was fun.”
There also was “an approving roar from a crowd with a lust for blood.” Ah, good ol’ manly fun all around! I hope the kids in the crowd were getting a lot out of it too. According to a reporter who has followed the Red Wings-Avs rivalry, “it’s far more likely for fisticuffs to break out among fans in the seats or on the concourse than on the ice.”
Nice. Old school, Stone Age hockey — on the ice and in the stands.
Denver Post columnist Mark Kiszla described MacKinnon’s decision to fight this way: “It was gallant. It was also just plain stupid. Your most-talented scorer, using his hands as weapons? Dumb.”
Dumb indeed. We’re now in 2015 and the best word to describe the hockey mentality is still “dumb.”
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #32 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Prolific Author Joe Posnanski Joins the Show – Posnanski is one of America’s best sportswriters and has twice been named the best sports columnist in America by the Associated Press Sports Editors. We chat about his new book, “Why We Love Baseball,” his new Substack newsletter called Joe Blogs, and we cover topics including how baseball treats its fans, MLB’s numerous rule changes this past season, how the sport can become more fan-friendly, the greatness of Negro Leagues champion Buck O’Neil, and much more.
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Episode #31 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Foul Ball Safety Is Still an Important Issue at Ballparks – Our guests are Jordan Skopp, founder of FoulBallSafety.com and Greg Wilkowski, a Chicago based attorney. We discuss the historical problem of foul balls injuring fans and why some teams are still hesitant to put up protective netting in some minor league and college baseball parks.
Episode #30 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The State of College Athletics with Dr. David Ridpath: Problems and Potential Solutions – Ridpath is a sports administration professor at Ohio University and a member of The Drake Group, a college sports reform think tank.
Episode #29 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Honorable Tom McMillen Visits League of Fans’ Sports Forum – McMillen is a former All-American basketball player, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Congressman. We discuss the state of college athletics today.
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world. We discuss problems in youth sports today.
Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
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.
- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
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.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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