Why do we go to hockey games? Is it because we love to watch a well plated all-round hockey game? Lets be honest here, our parents and grandparents went to watch a well played game in the days of the Rocket and the other great players of the time.
Most of us go to a game hoping for blood and fights, the NHL knows it, the players know it, and we, the fans know it. Emotions in the games run high and the hope of blood and fights looms in the air. Years ago hockey players would use this emotion in the game, not in bar-room brawl-style fights on the ice.
Over the past two seasons violence in the game has become far more common and far more serious. Recently Todd Bertuzzi of the Vancouver Canucks took a very cheap shot on Steve Moore that sent Moore to the hospital with serious injuries. Moore may never be able to play hockey again.
The NHL was quick to react suspending Bertuzzi for the remainder of the NHL season and playoffs and fined him $500,000 US and the Vancouver Canucks $250,000 US for their roles in this horrible incident. What happened with the fans? Nothing. All the Sports stations played and re-played Bertuzzi's violent attack on Steve Moore without any remorse solidifying the justness of this act in our minds.
We crave the violence in hockey, we desire it. WE NEED IT. Fans are just as much to blame for the violent direction hockey has taken as much as the hockey clubs, the NHL and the players. Fans drive the ticket sales making a profit for the clubs, the players and the NHL, all who realize what we, the fans expect from the game... fights and lots of them.
After the Bertuzzi ruling fans cried fowl that the punishment was too "cruel", "unusual", and "unreasonable". Wake up people! It's your own expectations of the game that are unreasonable! Fans were a large deciding factor in on-ice violence, many players have stated this in interviews that their fans want to see the fights and they deliver, boy do they ever!
The RCMP has concluded their criminal investigation into the Bertuzzi-Moore incident and forwarded their findings to the Crown Council who may decide to persue charges against Bertuzzi. Again though, no justice will be had aside from a slap on the wrist, maybe an extended suspension and a fine.
If the Crown Council did decide to persue more serious charges against Bertuzzi thousands of fans would rise to Bertuzzi's side holding demonstrations and protests. The Crown is undoubtedly already feeling this intense pressure and because hockey is so big in Canada, they may not want to send one of our biggest stars away to prison. In all likelyness, the NHL feels the same way.
If you or I had done this at work, at a bar, or on the street we would be going to jail for at least 2 years, not Bertuzzi though, it's unthinkable!
Justice? It doesn't exist. Not for Steve Moore, who may never play again and not for the elitest NHL players who seemingly get away with murder.