Inside the brutal world of ice hockey: The 'most dangerous' pro sport there is, where enforcers are paid to fight and knockouts are the norm - as Adam Johnson's death raises more questions than ever

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The athletics of crystal lucky has been thrust into nan spotlight aft nan tragic decease of Nottingham Panthers prima Adam Johnson complete nan weekend.

During a lucifer against Sheffield Steelers, Johnson, 29, had his pharynx trim by nan leaf of opponent Matt Petgrave, leaving nan 8,000 fans successful attendance horrified.

Tributes person poured successful for Johnson from nan crystal lucky organization and beyond, while his team-mate Westin Michaud has defended Petgrave aft he was shockingly accused of intentionally kicking Johnson prior to his death.


The English Ice Hockey Association (EIHA) person taken swift action pursuing Johnson's decease by making cervix guards mandatory for each players from 2024, and they person made a 'strong recommendation' that players usage them earlier this day arsenic well.

But is location still much that tin beryllium done to make nan athletics safer? After all, arsenic 1 instrumentality summed up connected X connected Saturday, crystal lucky is 'probably nan astir vulnerable athletics connected earth'.

Adam Johnson (pictured) passed distant complete nan play aft having his pharynx trim by nan leaf of an crystal skate during an crystal lucky match

Fights regularly break retired successful crystal hockey, and those progressive are often not automatically ejected

Multiple players tin get involved, starring to disfigured scenes connected nan crystal astatine times

Let's first return a look astatine nan domiciled of nan 'enforcers'.

These players are besides sometimes referred to arsenic nan 'fighter', arsenic that is precisely what they do.

They are tasked pinch responding to foul play from opponents by fighting aliases checking them, and they don't often request a 2nd invitation to get involved.

Enforcers person besides been known to return boxing lessons to amended their skills, highlighting really earnestly they return their role. 

We past move onto nan players known arsenic 'pests'.

These are nan eventual wind-up merchants, players who look to rile their opponents up done overly-physical play aliases verbal abuse. If they get a reaction, they person done their job.

When you person pests looking to commencement fights and enforcers only excessively happy to beryllium portion of them, beingness confrontations connected nan rink are inevitable.

According to Insidetherink.com, location were 334 charismatic fights successful nan National Hockey League (NHL) - wide seen arsenic nan sport's gold-standard section - during nan 2022-23 season.

Remarkably, that fig is importantly little than it was astatine nan move of nan millennium, but that is still a precocious number of fights crossed nan people of a campaign.

In beautiful overmuch immoderate different sport, getting into a conflict would automatically get a subordinate sent off. Even putting a manus successful nan look of an force successful shot is apt to lead to a reddish card.

But crystal lucky is very different.

The modular consequence to a conflict is to rumor a five-minute awesome penalty. Those fighters viewed arsenic nan instigator tin besides beryllium deed pinch much terrible sanctions. Yet players successful nan NHL are not automatically ejected for fighting.

There are immoderate rules successful spot that must beryllium adhered to. Players tin not usage their lucky sticks arsenic weapons, person to support their helmets on, and they must region their mitt to conflict bare-knuckled arsenic nan padding successful nan gloves tin lead to much terrible injuries.

Players must return their gloves disconnected to person a bare-knuckled fight, while they must besides support their helmet on

His decease has raised questions complete really safe nan athletics of crystal lucky really is

If a subordinate gets 3 awesome penalties successful a match, which includes fighting, they will beryllium ejected and fined, but this gives them 2 opportunities to origin mayhem connected nan crystal without receiving nan eventual punishment.

With this successful mind, it is nary wonderment that fights tin get retired of manus regularly.

Ice lucky uses nan word 'roughing' for much insignificant fights that hap pinch gloves connected wherever nan officials consciousness they person things nether power and let much leeway. These fights typically consequence successful a two-minute punishment being handed out.

But immoderate fights get acold much serious, and it is not uncommon for 1 aliases much players to beryllium near successful a heap connected nan crushed and requiring aesculapian attention. 

This wherever crystal lucky gets its 'most dangerous' tag from.

Players tin beryllium knocked retired from getting progressive successful fights, aliases suffer different superior injuries arsenic they autumn to nan ground. Remember, these beingness scraps are each taking spot connected crystal conscionable to adhd that other spot of jeopardy!

The celebrated American comedian Rodney Dangerfield erstwhile quipped: 'I went to nan fights past night, and a lucky crippled collapsed out.' This joke shows really prevalent fighting is successful crystal hockey.

This leaves nan question: is it clip for that to change?

In nan aftermath of Johnson's death, information successful athletics has ne'er been much important.

Fights breaking retired successful crystal lucky has go nan norm, and it does get nan crowd to their feet arsenic they watch connected to spot who will travel retired connected top.

But is it each worthy it? Is fighting really basal successful a athletics wherever players are already putting themselves astatine consequence by racing crossed nan crystal astatine scarcely-believable speeds each while trying to power a puck?

Fights tin spot time off aggregate players down connected nan crystal and tin lead to superior injuries

The fights entertain nan crowd, but whether they are really basal remains debatable

Ice lucky is already a vulnerable athletics without nan fighting arsenic players effort to power a mini puck astir nan rink

These questions person been asked earlier and crystal lucky has mostly remained nan same.

Yes, nan number of fights person been reduced, but they still hap frequently.

The preamble of mandatory cervix guards is simply a measurement successful nan correct guidance for nan sport.

Now, crystal lucky must inquire itself if it is consenting to spell moreover further to protect players moving forward. 


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