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 #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, with over 150 camps in 30+ U.S. states and Canada. We discuss problems in youth sports today, including single sport specialization, the growing gap between the “haves” and “have-nots,” the high drop-out rate in competitive sports, and the growing mental health challenges young athletes are dealing with today.
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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.
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.”
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.
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.
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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