Hodge: Canada’s great game marred by ugly fisticuff

Once again sports analysts and fans are shaking their head this week at a couple of asinine plays in the NHL…

As the name indicates, today’s column is a catch-can of unrelated thoughts:

I am sadly reminded how correct my old pal Howie Meeker is about the state of our favourite game.

Meeker has continuously stated over the years that, “hockey is still the greatest game in the world, despite the idiots that run it.”

Once again sports analysts and fans are shaking their head this week at a couple of asinine plays in the NHL that resulted in serious injuries—the most recent a cheap shot by Boston player Shawn Thornton on Pittsburgh’s Brooks Orpik.

In a scuffle Thornton tossed Orpik to the ground and after pinning him to the ice rabbit punched him on the chin twice.

While the blows were not hard the fact Orpik was flat on the ice at the time meant the punches were not cushioned in any way.

Orpik was badly injured and removed from the ice by a stretcher.

In addition, several top NHL stars are, or recently were, out for numerous games with concussions received by hits or checks to the head including Pavel Datsyuk, Rick Nash, Vincent LeCavalier, Tyler Seguin and several others. It is a trend that does not seem to be slowing down.

I continue to harp on the fact that a solution to eliminating violent or dangerous actions by players in the NHL is relatively simple.

Disciplinary head honcho Brendon Shanahan and NHL commissioner Gary ‘Pussyfoot’ Bettman simply need to adopt my cause and effect remediation.

Any time a player injures another player through an illegal or deemed dangerous hit or action (like punching a player in the face when they are down on the ice) that player should be suspended without pay for a minimum of the length of time it takes for the victim to return to play.

In other words, if you ram another player into the boards head first and he misses 20 games with a concussion—then so do you. If the player’s career is ended, then quite possibly so is yours.

That rule would eliminate any need to have a hearing or debate the length of suspension.

Certainly an appeal process would be available in mitigating situations—and injuries would have to be confirmed by an independent doctor.

The end result is that players would ultimately he held fully accountable for their actions.

•••

The above process may seem radical but it certainly would be effective.

It makes one wonder if such a severe punishment should not be handed out to repeat drunk driving or dangerous driving offenders.

I am continually shocked and disgusted with how often I hear that someone was injured or killed by a ‘repeat’ DUI driver.

I do not understand why a second DUI conviction does not constitute automatic jail time, and on a third conviction the driver’s license is simply taken away for a minimum of 10 years or perhaps life.

As far as I am concerned, if you kill someone while driving drunk you should never see a driver’s seat again let alone get out of jail.

Absurd.

•••

Nominations are now being accepted for the 39th annual Kelowna Civic Awards and you are encouraged to get involved.

This is a great event and your effort really can make a difference in deciding who receives the coveted awards.

I had the pleasure of chairing the committee for two of the three years I sat on the board, and fully understand how your nominations are greatly valued and needed by the committee members who volunteer their time.

For more information on how to nominate Kelowna residents for the award check out the information on the City of Kelowna website at www.cityofkelowna.ca.

•••

Speaking of caring folks, this is your last reminder to send in your nominations for my annual Charlie’s Angels Christmas List.

Deadline for submissions is this Wednesday (Dec.18) at 10 p.m.

I began penning Charlie’s Angels Christmas List some 25 years ago, (give or take a few years) as a way of acknowledging the many amazing people during the previous year that had made a difference in my world.

However, it quickly dawned on me that readers likewise had such angels in their life and I opened it up to submissions.

Since then I have received hundreds of names suggested ‘angels’ from Hodge Podge readers wishing to applaud people whose kind hearts and generous actions have brought a smile to others.

The criteria are simple. All your angel has to have done is something nice, from a needed smile at the right moment to saving your life.

Over the years I have come to realize the Angels List has helped inspire more pleasure than I ever imagined.

Not only does it allow readers to express their gratitude but it is a pleasant surprise for the Angel nominee to unexpectedly see their name in print praising their kindness.

The neat catch-22 is their positive actions, done in the spirit of sharing without any expectation of thanks, comes back to them in the same spirit.

Regardless, please take a few minutes out today and jot down the name(s) of people you consider angels in your life with a brief reason why they deserve the recognition.

Most of us know at least a couple of good people who have gone above and beyond in kindness to help others in the year.

Please send your list to charliehodge333@gmail.com, and I will run them in next week’s Hodge Podge.

 

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