Well, yes, I shouldn't ignore violence in hockey. But largely the thing some complain about in hockey isn't as big a deal for me.
"I was at a fight and a hockey game broke out." Sure. But largely these are nice clean fights between two people who want to fight. Some might argue that there is no room for fights, period. I'm a little ambivalent.
But its the other chippy stuff that bugs me. Like I said, the spearing when the ref isn't looking. To my mind, the league or refs should review the video post game for uncalled abrasion, and award penalties against the next game.
Hockey has had its share of ugliness, too. I mean apart from Garth Butcher. :)
But brawls have happened:
Canada and Russia emptied the benches for a bench-clearing brawl and someone at the arena in Piestany (in then Czechoslovakia) turned out the lights while punches were being thrown. The Russians and Canadians were booted out of the tournament, and Finland was awarded the gold medal.And beyond fighting, there's the Bertuzzi affair. Todd pursued another player, punched him from behind and drove him to the ice where he suffered further damage. Result: neck fracture, concussion and deep cuts to his face. But this wasn't a fight, and those who argue against fighting in hockey using this as an excuse, well, it doesn't work.
This sort of thing is rare, and the NHL treated it seriously. Bertuzzi was handed an open-ended suspension, to last at least through the end of season including playoffs. The suspension will be reevaluated at beginning of next season's training. Or it would have if hockey players weren't locked out.
The only other case I recall is Marty McSorley, who swung his stick like a bat, from behind, hitting Brashear in the back of the head. Brashear suffered a severe concussion which ended his season. McSorley also received a season suspension.
Happily hockey has glass between the ice and the fans, so we won't see these events in the stands. Lately they've even added nets above the glass to make damn good and sure. Unlike basketball.
For all that people wring their hands over hockey being too violent, the NHL responds very appropriately to excessive violence. And all you folks who think the NBA was too harsh, the Artest suspension (basketball) was also a right thing. I haven't yet heard of a penalty being levied against Clemson or the Gamecocks.