Photo Courtesy of Getty Images. Credit to Claus Andersen

Josh Maguire Latest Victim Of New Soft Sports


Today a Peterborough Petes forward who quit lacrosse because he was hurting opponents, has been labelled as a bully after a skirmish in an OHL playoff game. Josh Maguire is now regarded as a “bully” because of an opponent whom forgot that hockey is a physical sport, crazy eh?

If you’re a parent or a kid looking to sign up for hockey please know that the game of hockey, from it’s start is a physical

game. Should your son reach the OHL that physicality will only get worse as the young men get bigger and stronger. If you don’t want a physical game then hockey isn’t your sport.

With the heightened awareness of bullying in schools and cyber-bullying, anything that even looks like bullying is being called out. Bullying has now found its way onto the ice surface in the game of hockey. The OHL suspended Josh Maguire for 5-games for bullying actions towards an opponent. Maguire received four minutes in penalties for roughing after trying to start a fight with Henri Ikonen. While Maguire started throwing punches, Ikonen refused to drop his mitts and continued eating punches.

Both players received roughing penalties, however Maguire was awarded with a five game suspension for his efforts. The league deemed that if Maguire had did what he did outside of a hockey rink, he would be severally punished and while I don’t disagree with that, let’s remember what we’re talking about here. Maguire was in the heat of a moment, in the OHL playoffs, battling hard to ensure his team a win in game 7 and a 2nd round playoff birth. It’s not like he just found someone on the ice and decided to start throwing punches for no reason, chances are Ikonen didn’t help his case. In the same matter, in hockey you have two options. Either answer the bell by dropping your mitts and fighting back or turtle and accept your punishment from your opponent. Ikonen didn’t fight back, that’s not Maguire’s fault.

We’re entering a dangerous time in the world of competitive sports. A time of hyper-sensitivity towards young athletes. A world where there are no longer winners and losers, instead all participates are given trophies and medals so they don’t feel bad. If we’re not careful soon hitting and scoring will be taken out of the game as well.

We have to remember what hockey is at it’s roots. Hard-hitting, fast-paced, trash talking, slashing and hooking, is an art form engrained in the game. Something the Boston Bruins have nailed down to a science and something the old Philadelphia Flyers (Broad Street Bullies) were feared for. The game of hockey at it’s best is a game of intimidation, whoever can get away with the most bad stuff and capitalize on their opportunities comes out on top. Now that’s not to say the hockey and the NHL aren’t games where skill matters, because they most certainly do, especially with European hockey. However, if you trace the game back to it’s roots, rough, tough hockey is what you’ll find.

Maguire received his penalty for roughing and an extra two minutes, but a suspension and the label of bully is over the top. He’s a hockey player who got into an altercation in the heat of the battle, something that is totally acceptable in the game of hockey.

The fact that bullying how now entered into the ice rink and onto the ice is a disgrace to the game. If a player doesn’t want to fight then they should take up soccer, this is hockey; either you’re a gamer or you’re not. There is no room for bullying in the game of hockey. The Boston Bruins would sign Josh Maguire in a heartbeat.

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  • Emma Shehan

    This is ridiculous. If someone isn’t fighting back, that doesn’t mean they should “accept their punishment”. That’s absolute bullshit. People wouldn’t stand for that off of the rink, why is that acceptable in hockey? So many players of physical sports get so many concussions they receive permanent cognitive damage. Is that worth it? These are young players, and the message you’re teaching them is if someone pisses you off, drop your gloves and deck them. That’s a seriously bad message to teach anyone. Just because it’s hockey is not an excuse. This player should have been straight up kicked out. Off the rink, that’s what we call physical assault people. Hockey is not about beating the shit out of each other.

    PS I think you miswrote the title of the article when you called Maguire the victim. Also, you sort of proved my point in that you yourself had to leave the game because of concussions.

    • Cory Langstaff

      No, you are wrong. Anyone who signs up to play hockey and especially anyone playing hockey in the OHL knows the consequences. It’s a physical sport and sometimes you are going to be called on to answer the bell with a fight. I was at the game, saw the whole thing. Maguire simply tried to spark his team. He dropped the gloves and started punching the guy thinking the other guy would do the same. The Refs jumped in as soon as they could and the guy was absolutely fine. We have all seen much worse plays in hockey without a suspension, the fact that Maguire got 5 games is absolute bullshit. Like the article says, if you want to play a sport without these incidents (because this isn’t the first time it’s happened and won’t be the last, although it was the first suspension for “bullying”) then go play soccer, or men’s league or something else.

    • Hannah

      I am a 22 year old female who has been playing hockey since the age of 6. You clearly don’t play hockey or you would see where EVERYONE is coming from. I’m not going to ream you out (I could for hours) but I will say this, I hope to god your children never enter our great nation’s sport for I know you would certainly ruin it for them.

  • GlenL

    What do you mean people would not stand for that off the ice. People would not stand for it in public or on the school ground. However people watch it in entertainment events all over. MMA and Boxing are growing in popularity all of the time. Hockey is not just a sport, it is entertainment. People pay for entertainment even in the minor leagues. To watch many games spectators have to pay to get in. What is happening to the game of hockey is a travesty. In any sport there are risks. Football, rugby, basketball (yes basketball), boxing, MMA just to start with. One does not see the issue of concussion and fighting talked about in these sports as much as hockey is being taken apart for it. Do I have to remind you that MMA and boxing are about beating the crap out of the other person and come out the winner!!!!!!

  • http://www.utimatehockeysource.com/ Warren ‘Coach’ Nye

    Folks, the game of hockey has changed in many ways over the past 10-15 years and it will continue to change. As a former player and coach I see is that the main change is the respect factor-and this is were I feel in this instant has happened. Even as you say Cory, that Maguire was ‘trying to spark’ his team he needs a opponent who is willing to engage. If that opponent is not willing then he needs to find another. In the same breath here, Cory says you need to stand up and fight if called out, well I agree but you also have to be careful on who you are calling out. If it is a player that hardly fights then why do you call him out? What are you proving?
    I do agree though with Glen that it seems that these days the word going on in hockey is that it is to violent and concussions seems to go hand in hand with the game but we must remember that 10 to 15 years ago you played through that and didn’t say anything about having your ‘bell rung’ where now a days…well it is a society of ‘hyper-sensitivity’ – ‘child in a bubble’ syndrome and who is to be at fault on that?

    • Cory Langstaff

      I do understand what you are saying, however, the whole incident occurred as two other players were getting into a scrum in the corner. The player who Maguire had allegedly “bullied” was actually skating towards the two players in the scrum, making at seem as though he was going to be the third man in and this would not be okay. If I were Maguire I would have been thinking that the player he ended up “bullying” was heading into the scrum as the third man, which would mean he wasn’t afraid to drop the mitts. In the situation I don’t think what Maguire did was wrong, however if he had of just attacked a player for no apparent reason, it may have been different.