As you may have heard, the New York Times is doing a multi-part and multimedia package on the life and death of Derek Boogaard, the New York Rangers and Minnesota Wild brawler who overdosed accidentally on a mix of alcohol and oxycodone in May.
It's a comprehensive and brutal look at life as an NHL fighter, and not without some news. The Times reports that researches found evidence of the degenerative brain disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE in posthumous evaluation of Boogaard. This is the 4th former NHL player discovered to have signs of CTE.
Yet there isn't any concern coming out of NHL headquarters, from the owners, team managers or the NHLPA. There isn't enough evidence to show that there is a direct correlation between blows to the head and CTE. Sure if you ignore the NFL experience.
But we are all to blame. Fans love fights and the long term impacts of those head shots never seem to concern the paying customers. Owners figure if fights get people out of their seats then it must make them money. League and team officials have been raised in a culture of violence so why would they be concerned. As for the guys who fight, well as long as they earn a paycheck they won't complain even if they hate fighting.
Look at the fight below. Those blows to the head can't be good for you. We all know that fighting serves no real purpose. They don't win you games. They totally disappear in the playoffs when the games matter the most. It kind of reminds me of cock fighting. At least if the league put a moratorium on fights while they researched the health issues of fights. But our lust for blood is too strong for the NHL to do the right thing. It might have to take a death for people to change their views. I hope it doesn't need to wait that long.