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 physicalPhoto Courtesy of Getty Images. Credit to Claus Andersen
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.