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“Violence in hockey?” begins an editorial in The Vancouver Sun, as the newspaper takes sharp aim at allegations of violence in the city’s most beloved sport.
“If there is any trend towards violence in hockey,” the editorial argues, “the leagues are perfectly capable of controlling it themselves, they’ve been telling us. And telling us and telling us – while the ribs get speared, the eyes jabbed, the legs gashed, the jaws broken, and the skulls fractured. In the last 3 1/2 months, at least 21 persons – mostly players, but some coaches and spectators as well – have been hauled before courts in seven provinces and charged with assault, or something similar, as a result of incidents at hockey games. Two have been fined, one was jailed and the rest are awaiting trial. That wouldn’t suggest violence, would it?”
League officials are less sympathetic toward the editorial’s point of view, with NHL President Clarence Campbell quoted as saying: “It’s just the product of the imagination of a lot of kooks who know nothing about it.”
The editorial then goes on to detail the “spectacle of back-to-back free-for-alls in Quebec City, North Vancouver, and Toronto” that have taken place in the past few days, and echoes Attorney General Garde Gardom’s call for corrective action by league officials rather than government.
“That’s the obvious way to do it,” the article asserts. “A few life suspensions here and there, a few $10,000 fines on individuals would clean things up in short order [...] Public tolerance will stand only so much of this nonsense before the demands that governments step in and take control of the game become too shrill for Mr. Gardom and other politicians to ignore.
“The hockey people should be given one more chance,” it concludes. “One, and no more.”
IMAGE: Goalie for the Vancouver Millionaires, circa 1920s. Image courtesy of the Vancouver Public Library.