In the beginning ofsafety within the sport of hockey, it is adequate to understand the issues withthe backbone of safety, the rules. This general understanding of the rules canbe misleading, with each rule being directed to a certain infraction or move,but still, some of these actions can go unnoticed.
With the rules such as Rule41, 43, and 46 (Boarding, checking from behind, and Fighting respectively) theyhave their own subsections within each set of rules that can be damaging to aplayer depending on the severity of the incident. For example, if a player iscaught fighting, which is officially defined as “When at least one playerpunches or attempts to punch an opponent repeatedly or when two players wrestlein such a manner as to make it difficult for the Linesmen to intervene andseparate the combatants” (National Hockey League 70). each player can beassessed particular penalties for this action. However, the way a fight couldbe conducted in never mentioned, which with specific punches or areas hit onthe player, serious problems can occur, such as punches to the head. With the example,it merely gives the bare minimum of safety, and truly simply notes such thingsas “Fighting Other Than During the Periods of the Game”, or “Continuing orAttempting to Continue a Fight” (National Hockey League 71).
Another graveissue with the current rules is with protective equipment. When it comes to themost serious equipment needs, such as helmets, the rules only state that itmust be “… approved by the league at all times while participating in a game,either on the playing surface or the players’ or penalty benches” (NationalHockey League 13). I have the issue of what the league categorizes the sentenceapproved by the league.
What does this mean, what requirements are “approved,and what specifically can a player look for when using this equipment? Theseare sets of questions that need to be defined by the league. In this sport offlying pucks, fights and overall rough-and-tough behavior, I tend to ask whythe ruling for this is absurd. However, the rules clearly state that a playercan be in play with no helmet, but if said player is to be substituted for,then he must return with a helmet (National Hockey League 13). With this, I seewhy this rule cannot be changed or altered to be more like the goalkeeper’sregulated rule. With the rule, it explains that when a goaltender’s mask hasbeen taken off over the course of play, the play will stop, depending on thepuck possession and overall circumstances. Why can if any player should bewithout a helmet during play, the game would pause? What would happen if aplayer lost his helmet and a puck would hit him directly in the face? These arethe questions I have against the ruling, and with the advocation of changingthe rules so that players can be more cautious and careful we can combat the waysof the rulings and have optimism regarding rule keeping and players overallwell-being.