I just watched the most hockey I’ve seen in about eight months – and it consisted of 10-year-old kids beating each other up.
These clips of the melee between the Moscow White Bears and the Metallurg Novokuznetsk during a youth hockey tournament for the Yamaha Cup in Moscow have received more than 500,000 views on YouTube within the last five days. (I can’t help but think that some of that traffic is from North Americans bored and frustrated with the lack of progress with the current NHL lockout.)
|Source: YouTube user "nktvcom"|
The obvious offense that stands out in this video is the excessive fighting. At one point, the two refs on the ice were tasked with breaking up three separate fights going on simultaneously. At another point in the video I counted nine kids in the penalty box at once! Eventually the headcount between both teams’ penalty boxes reached 30, resulting in the refs blowing the whistle on the entire game.
It doesn’t matter in which country this event took place. At the end of the day, what happened out there were 10-year-old boys pummeling each other.
Even in professional hockey, where fighting is generally accepted as a tactic of the game, this type of behavior crosses the line of sportsmanship that any athlete, at any level of play, should display.
And speaking of displaying sportsmanship, where were the coaches in all this? If deep down I didn’t think that the coaches were egging on their players’ behavior, I would say they missed an opportunity to straighten out these kids and teach them to respect the game, their opponents and themselves.
If someone has their league’s mailing address, I’ll send them a copy of NAYS’ National Standards. In the meantime, I’m thankful that I didn’t see any helmets come off.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the National Alliance for Youth Sports.
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