On Wednesday, the NHL and NHL Players Association released a long-winded gospel about the new ways of the game and how it plans on reaching new groups of people. When I first read the core beliefs, I halfway rolled my eyes and burped at the same time. I am not sure if that happened due to my quick chug of a red bull or the fact that words don’t run as fast and action.
In case you missed the press release particulars, here they are:
“Declaration of Principles
We believe every leader of the sport has the responsibility to inspire stakeholders in an effort to deliver a positive family hockey experience. Hockey participation offers families value beyond making an individual a better player or even a better athlete. The game of hockey is a powerful platform for participants to build character, foster positive values and develop important life skills. These benefits are available to all players, desirable to every family and transcend the game.
Today, guided by our common values, we jointly pledge to the following Principles.
1. Hockey should be an enjoyable family experience; all stakeholders – organizations, players, parents, siblings, coaches, referees, volunteers and rink operators – play a role in this effort.
2. Hockey’s greatest value is the role it plays in the development of character and life skills.
3. All hockey organizations – regardless of size or level of competition – bring value to players and families in their ability to deliver a positive family experience.
4. Physical activity is important for a healthy body, mind and spirit.
5. There are significant benefits of youth participation in multiple sports.
6. Hockey programs should be age-appropriate for all players, accounting for each individual’s physical, emotional and cognitive development.
7. There is great value in all forms of hockey, both on and off the ice.
8. All hockey programs should provide a safe, positive and inclusive environment for players and families regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation and socio-economic status. Simply put, hockey is for everyone.
We believe in our ability to improve lives and strengthen communities globally through hockey. We believe that living by these Principles will provide a healthy, balanced and enjoyable experience for all and inspire impactful service beyond the rink.”
Nice speech, Gary. Which one of your fucking interns wrote that for you?
Look, I don’t mean to be the chewy piece of grizzle on the chicken sandwich, but a lot of this is hard hot air coming out of the NHL’s ass.
How about the use of gay slurs in games? Remember Andrew Shaw’s usage during the playoffs that saw him get a one game suspension. After the game, he didn’t know what he said. Days later, he was sorry about it. The game should sharpen up areas like players thinking it’s okay or forgivable to say such hateful shit. Plus, Shaw is just someone I’d like to see punched.
What about the leaked concussion lawsuit emails? The NHL doesn’t want to start resembling the NFL when it comes to player protection, does it? NHL players claimed that the league didn’t properly tell the league about the link between concussions and the sport. Take care of your players. I love fights and good hits, but don’t hide info from players. That’s Roger Goodell territory. CTE...huh?
Too many hockey players are dying lately to overlook this fact. It’s almost as if the league knows it has done some bad things recently and needed to write a book to make it seem less bad.
Maybe, just maybe, the league is trying to clean up its act. Words sure are cool looking.
Here’s my set of beliefs:
1.) Take care of your players. Without them, you have a lot of useless cold slabs of ice that don’t get scratched. If it robs you of a few extra shackles at the box office, inform your players. Those players inform your consumers. Check this out in #6. Cognitive development and maintenance.
2.) If another player screams a gay slur in front of a public audience, suspend him for 20 games. They will get the point. What is said in a locker room is one thing, but on television and on a rink in front of an audience of all ages, do the right thing. This applies to #8 in their handbook.
3.) If a fan goes to his seat during action instead of waiting for a whistle, he or she should be escorted outside the arena and given a bag full of empty peanut shells.
4.) If Vladimir Sobotka centers a line with Vladimir Tarasenko, test Mike Yeo for drugs.
5.) Have a little faith in your goaltenders, especially if they are 30 years old or younger.
6.) More alternate jersey nights. Please and thank you.
7.) Let Pierre McGuire and Mike Milbury fight in a steel cage match, so we don’t have to hear one on NBC this season.
8.) Can we do something with Louie? Fill up his egg nog, drive him out to the middle of nowhere, leave him for dead?
Look, I like big speeches as much as the next guy, but I’ll wait to see how the NHL enforces these new beliefs before I put any stock in them. It’s like getting the memo at high school about new gym class rules and instantly forgetting they ever existed.
Agree? Cool. Buy me a beer.
Disagree? Sound off with your medium hot take below.
Unsure what to think? It’s cool. We’ve all been there.