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 #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO. He discusses the use of Native American names and logos by sports teams and the decisions to drop the Chief Wahoo logo and the upcoming change to the team name. Other baseball topics include health and safety, possible MLB rule changes and youth participation in the sport.
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Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
Episode #8 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Save College Sports From Overcommercialization and Professionalization? – The guest is Dr. David Ridpath, a sports business professor and past president of the Drake Group
Episode #7 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Brain Trauma and CTE Risk in Sports With Dr. Ann McKee – Dr. McKee works in the field of neuropathology and has demonstrated that “mild” repetitive head trauma can provoke chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a devastating neurodegenerative disease.
Episode #6 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Need for Quality Physical Education in Our Schools is Greater Than Ever – The guest is Clayton Ellis, one of our nation’s leading advocates for getting our young people to be more physically active.
Episode #5 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Youth Sports with Positive Coaching Alliance Founder Jim Thompson – Thompson started Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) in 1998 to help create a movement to transform the culture of youth sports from “win-at-all-costs” to a positive, character-building experience.
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.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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.
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