Saturday, August 18, 2007


Just when you thought it was safe to go back on the ice…..along comes Derek Boogaard, bringing his “special” talent of kicking the ever-living shit out of his opponent, to a hockey school for kids. For just $40 you can have your child instructed on how to drop their gloves and go toe to toe with an opponent. I can hear it now: hockey dad’s sitting up and saying, “hmmm…sounds interesting” and hockey mom’s saying, “Oh, dear God I can’t watch”. Either way you look at it, it’s here for now, and is part of a camp designed for kids to learn the “art” of fighting on skates in the hopes of teaching them how to defend themselves. There will indeed be some uproar involved with this as I’m sure people’s opinions will be split defending the need for such a camp and being down right disgusted with the notion. Fighting has always been a part of the game, but is it really necessary for kids ages 12 – 18 to be taught how to do it? Defenders will say things along the lines of ‘You put your kids in a Karate class what’s the difference?” and “It’s about time someone shows kids how to defend themselves.” Of course the people against it will be saying things along the lines of “ It’s barbaric.” and “Totally brainless acts of violence shouldn’t be glorified.” Just as a little experiment, I decided to tell my wife and my son that I signed him up for Boogaard’s “Goon School” to see their reactions. Right away, my wife said: “What on earth made you do that?” “I’m not sure he needs that sort of thing.” and my son’s comment was “Cool.” “Boogaard is an animal!” I of course, told them I was only joking before the conversation escaladed into a household split, but you get the point. As for me, well I have always defended fighting in hockey as it has a place in the game, but when I say that I mean in the professional game. It has always been against the rules but an element that needs to stay. However, I don’t believe that it is something that needs to be taught to kids. I will say that when I watch a game and Boogaard gets into a scrap I am on the edge of my seat as it is exciting to see, but if I was to see my son scrap with another kid on the ice at one of his games I would be sick to my stomach and feel shame. There is a difference in watching professionals fight and watching kids fight. If the camp was designed to teach 18 – 22 year olds heading into careers in the game I could understand the need for such a camp, but for kids in youth hockey I just fail to see any real purpose. What do you think?

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