Ice hockey has a long and illustrious history. It originated in Canada in the mid-1800s as the brainchild of James G. Creighton. By 1877, McGill University in Montreal, Canada, organized the first official hockey team. Ice hockey made its way across the pond with the first European hockey games being held at the Prince’s Skating Club in Knightsbridge, England. In 1908, three years after the first international games between Belgium and France, the International Ice Hockey Federation was formed.
In the end it was a case of Goliath crushes David in the men’s ice hockey final at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, as Canada swept aside a plucky Sweden outfit in a convincing 3-0 victory. The win helped the Canadians on to secure third place in the overall medal table for the games, with only host nation Russia and cross-country skiing specialists Norway ahead of them.
Canada have dominated the hockey rinks over the past four Winter Olympics, with three Gold medals to their name. They might not have made it all the way to the top this time, but they did show enforce their credentials as the leading superpower in international ice hockey, with victories over Sweden and – perhaps most crucially of all – their neighbours and great rivals the United States. The Canadians have beaten the rest by being the best, validating the many thousands of fans who cheered the side along or bet on them to win at sites like www.bettingsports.com in the lead-up to the final.
Story of the final
For neutral ice hockey fans it was something of a disappointing end to a fascinating tournament at the Bolshoy Ice Dome, with Canada rolling over the Swedes with apparent ease. Chris Kunitz, Jonathan Toews and captain Sidney Crosby all got their names on the scoreboard, whilst after a reasonably promising start which saw Carl Hagelin hit the post with one particularly menacing effort, Sweden seldom looked likely to threaten the Canadian goal.
Drugs test controversy that mars result
The Sochi Winter Olympics was tainted by a string of doping scandals, and none could be so contentious as that which apparently harmed Sweden’s chances (slim as they may have been) in their ice hockey final clash with Canada. Vice-captain Nicklas Backstrom had proven to be a key figure in the Swedish team on their way to the final, but the star forward was ruled out of the clash by the IOC after testing positive for a banned substance. This may sound like a clear cut case, but the player’s own argument suggests that this isn’t so… Backstrom and his team insisted that the substance found in his test was simply an ingredient of an allergy pill which he had been using for many years. He told members of the press, “I’ve got absolutely nothing to hide. It was shocking to me and at the same time I’m here right now and I have to deal it.”
Sweden’s team doctor Bjoern Waldeback added, “It’s a permitted drug. We told them he had one pill per day as he has for the past seven years.”
Fistfights on the ice are almost a quintessential part of any hockey game. When a couple of guys (or girls!) lose it in the emotion of the game and start pounding away at each other, fans get caught up in the brawling, and sports highlights reels spin. Take a recent example — when the Vancouver Canucks played the L.A. Kings on January 13, 2014, Canuck Tom Sestito started punching Jordan Nolan of the Kings right after the faceoff. Sestito’s one second of play generated 27-minutes-worth of penalties, earned him the designation “Worst Sports Person in the World” from ESPN’s Keith Olbermann and started a much-watched Twitter fight between Olbermann and Sestito’s 13-year-old sister, Victoria.
Ten former NHL players, including former All-Star Gary Leeman, have sued the NHL for failing to educate them and to prevent recurring concussions. Despite the danger of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and the deaths of multiple players from the head trauma-induced disorder, hockey fisticuffs are unlikely to stop anytime soon. There’s not enough room to recap every hockey fight in history, but NHL fans should remember at least a few of these memorable clashes. Grab your favorite team’s gear and get excited for the next match.
Bob Probert and Tie Domi — 1992
Bob Probert was one of hockey’s most seasoned fighters, and he probably didn’t believe that the much-shorter Tie Domi would be much of a match for him. Domi dangled the gloves first, but he waited until Probert made the first move. In the beginning, Probert and Domi’s fight didn’t pack much punch; Domi was too short to reach Probert with his left, and Probert kept hitting Domi’s helmet with his right. Then, Probert pulled Domi in, and Domi landed two fast punches that opened a four-stitch cut over Probert’s right eye. The two continued to struggle, with Probert entangled in his own ripped sweater, until the refs finally broke up the fight. As Domi skated toward the penalty box, he put on an imaginary championship belt to the delight of the 22,000-strong crowd.
Stan Jonathan and Pierre Bouchard — 1978
Jonathan was six inches shorter than Bouchard and 30 pounds lighter, and at first, fans thought Jonathan didn’t have a chance. However, because of his ability to duck Bouchard’s punches, Jonathan soon gained the upper hand. He delivered a right to Bouchard’s forehead and then a nasty left overhand punch to Bouchard’s nose, sending the big man down onto the ice with blood squirting out of his nose. Bouchard had prevailed over Dave Schultz, Ted Irvine and Wayne Cashman on the ice, but he couldn’t defeat Stan Jonathan, who had the bulldog defensive moves of a professional boxer.
Bob Probert and Craig Coxe — 1987
Probert and Coxe were both huge guys, and during the game, they threw off their gloves and started wailing each other with punches. After the fight had gone on for about 40 seconds, Probert looked like he’d had enough. However, he grabbed the back of Coxe’s jersey and started pummeling him with heavy-fisted rights from behind before the refs pulled Coxe away. Tragically, Bob Probert died at the age of 45 in 2010. Postmortem examination showed signs of CTE.
Scott Stevens and Dave Manson — 1991
In the fight known as the “St. Patrick’s Day Massacre,” the Blackhawks and Blues were milling around the St. Louis net when the players started pairing up to duke it out. Big defenders Scott Stevens and Dave Manson skated away from the crowd to center ice, where Manson delivered a series of rights that left Stevens staggering and bleeding around his left eye. Stevens had been instigating fights all night, and the announcers and fans agreed that he deserved a righteous beatdown. Both teams were fined $10,000, and a total of 12 players were ejected from the game.
Flyers and Canadiens — 1987
Four players were on the ice before Game 6 of the Wales Conference when Claude Lemieux shot a puck into Philadelphia’s goal. Hospodar went after him, and both teams piled onto the ice. Dave Brown even ran out of the locker room without his shirt on and started hammering Chris Nilan. Hospodar was suspended for the rest of the playoffs, and the NHL initiated an automatic $10,000 fine and a 10-game ban for players that cleared the benches to fight. Coaches were also fined if they failed to control their players, and the new restrictions dampened most players’ enthusiasm for bench clearing.
Image by Les Stockton from Flickr Creative Commons
About the author: Blake Hollande lives in Quebec City and is an insatiable hockey fan.
When the new year rolls around most people think about getting in shape, losing a few pounds, or just living a more active lifestyle in general. This is something you can do pretty easily if you pick up a new sport, especially if the sport demands strength and endurance.
Rugby has finally moved across the pond and onto the fields of local high schools and parks. It can serve as a good alternative for football with less padding and smaller teams. Less padding, most players just using a mouth guard, allows this sport to be played without having to spend money on lots of extra padding and equipment.
A metro team is usually made up of all willing players in two or three surrounding areas. There are lots of different components that make up a rugby team so new members are always encouraged to join no matter what level their skill set.
Hockey is a sport that is hit and miss around the country. Areas that “hit” on hockey are usually the Northeast or anywhere in Canada where locals are seemingly mad for the sport. Then you have warmer climates where the game is less popular or almost unheard of. Playing hockey anywhere in the country is possible and a ton of exercise. Learning how to skate on ice or on a hardwood floor takes practice and effort, but once you start playing you will never want to stop. If you aren’t the type who wants to skate constantly think about playing goalie where you have a lot of downtime mixed in with really intense moments of defending your net.
Practice always makes for a better player particularly when it comes to maneuverability. Purchasing proper equipment, such as skates, hockey masks, sticks and pads is key to both safety and performance on the ice.
Lacrosse is a more up and coming sport that is a sort of blend of other field sports. It is both a speed and contact sport and so requires a sense of brute finesse. Personal equipment includes upper body padding, a helmet, and a lacrosse stick. This said, men’s and women’s lacrosse rules and regulations vary when it comes to equipment and on field contact. Like rugby, metro teams can pop up instead of individual high school teams, but unlike hockey, all that lacrosse requires is an open field and a couple of nets.
Regardless of what method you try to get in shape during 2013 one of the best is picking up a sport. Combining fun and exercise is a great combo. Even if you only play 1 day a week it is a good change of pace from the gym and something to look forward too, so grab a ball, stick, or whatever and get out there.