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Hunter is quoted as saying; ‘he has witnessed hundreds of bitter, fight and penalty filled contests. Fighting and slashing and instigating fights he claims are the norm for hockey.

Interesting that it has been three years, March 8th 2004 that Steve Moore was driven to the ice by a blow to the head from behind by Todd Bertuzzi. We all watched the spectacle live on television; like the falling of the Trade Centre in New York the wanton anger of man against man has made us painfully aware.

Last week for the very first time the C B C’s National interviewed Steve to talk about the affect of the aftermath of his debilitating injuries. The trauma to his neck has healed but his ability to focus and return to play hockey which he loved from the age of three has disappeared because of the callous fists of Bertuzzi.

Moore made his way from St Mike’s to the prestigious halls of Harvard University from which he graduated. Unlike Bertuzzi he didn’t play hockey in the Ontario Hockey League. If you play one game in the O H L then you are not eligible to play university hockey in the states.

The majority of the London Knight’s teen age hockey players attend Saunders Seconday School. They come from here and far at a young age to make their way into professional hockey. As indentured servants once they are drafted the youngsters they can be traded and dealt to other teams in the league at the whim of the management.

When I was at Saunders the Knights hockey players made $45.00 per week spending money for the regular season. Twelve years later the stipend has been upgraded to an outrageous, magnificent $50.00. You play sixty games in the regular season plus the playoffs. There is little or no money for exhibition games.

The young hockey players learn quickly that it is very important to make a positive impression on the coaches with their toughness to fight and take a hit and a check into the boards. The loyal London fans cheer their young gladiators on to yet another championship.

Dr Peter Jaffe from the London Court Clinic is right when he calls for a change in hockey to a team sport of passing and skating along with respect and dignity for the other team players. Not bashing and slashing along with fighting to whip your opponents.

The London media over the past few years has glorified the position of the Knight’s Hockey Players. If my children were younger I would not take them to the John Labatt Centre to watch the ugly goings on by the players. Winning is important but at what price.

Think about it Dale Hunter for just a moment what negative message you are you sending out to London teenagers. ‘ Rough stuff part of the game.’

Professional hockey is the only sport that turns a blind eye to fighting (accept for boxing.) If you dare and throw a punch in the National Basketball/Football league you are immediately suspended and will face stiff thousands of dollars in fines.

How many more Steve Moore tragedies do we have to endure before fighting is banished from the game?

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com