Lack of leadership in the NHL has left a black mark on the hockey world

Christopher D. Pike | March 14, 2010
The hockey world has been surrounded with controversy over the last couple of days. The future of the NHL is now approaching a critical moment in its history. A history that has provided all of us with memories that will survive generations of future hockey fans. The game of hockey is a physical game. A hockey hit can be devestating. It is not a game for the weak at heart.

If you are unwilling to play this game with intimidation and  intensity then your heart will be broken, along with a couple of bones. NHL players know the risks of playing this great game, and they also know the rules that should protect each player on the ice. They play this game knowing that every player will be held accountable for their actions. Who will be held responsible for the lack of leadership the NHL has shown in response to Matt Cooke's vicious hit on Marc Savard?
The competition committee must make a change in the coming days. Our great game will have a black mark even greater than the blemish left on the players that are unsure of how to play in this new NHL. When Sean Avery waved his arms erratically in front of Brodeur's crease the NHL promptly made a rule change. Before most of the world had even seen this bizarre play the NHL had a rule to rectify the actions of the league's most infamous bad boy. I did agree with the decision to take this play out of the game but was shocked by how quickly the league took action.
Aggressive hits in hockey and fighting is what makes our game special and original, but dirty hockey hits should never be accepted. Targeting a players head in a vulnerable situation should be taken out of the game. If any player in the league intends to injure another player then they should be punished for their actions. If all players are not protected then greatness will never be seen. If the NHL does not want the toughest and most dangerous players to react to the dirty plays we see today than suspensions should be handed out quickly.

The NHL's lack of direction is leading to a bad precedent. Adaptation in any sport is crucial to its success. The NFL has made numerous rule changes to adapt and have found success in the process. Hits to the head have been taken out of one of the most dangerous games in professional sports. The NHL should take a page from the NFL and abolish this barbaric part of professional sports.
Leadership is seen on every hockey rink around the world. It comes from a 12 year old kid that just wants to taste the thrill of victory. It comes from that young hockey superstar that is trying to make a name for himself. We see it every time our hometown hero scores that game winning goal. The game of hockey is combined of moments that can lift us from our seats.

I wish that the men behind our great game could show the same leadership that they see high above the game and become leaders in the boardroom. They should take responsibility for their decisions and be held accountable for their actions. A change needs to be made and every man needs to be accountable for the decisions that drive the game of hockey.
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Why was this disrespectful act more important to the league than the numerous and violent head shots that we see almost every week? Is it because Avery had a history of these types of actions? If this is the league's position then Matt Cooke should have been held to the same standard. His dirty hit on Savard was not the first time Cooke has been on the NHL's radar. Matt Cooke has a history of targeting players in the wrong way. He has taken numerous players out of games with hits to the knee. Consistency is something the league is surely lacking in today's NHL.
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