The Voice of the Loy Norrix Community

Knight Life

The Voice of the Loy Norrix Community

Knight Life

The Voice of the Loy Norrix Community

Knight Life

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Hockey is one of the most physical sports leaving high schoolers struggling to stay composed

Credit: Cavan Helms
Junior Jesse Ruelas quickly skates down the rink towards the Gladwin captain defender, looking for a late minute goal. Ruelas and Kalamazoo United put up a solid fight but ended up losing this game 1-3.

You find yourself back-down on the ice, staring at the ceiling. You just got body slammed by a 6’4″ super senior from Mattawan. Enraged, you quickly grab your stick and hit his neck. Now that you’re ejected and suspended, you take the walk of shame to the locker room, dreading what your parents will say after the game. 

According to Frontiers, hockey is undoubtedly the most physical sport with 1,458 fights in the 2008-9 National Hockey League (NHL) season. Not only are there fights, but there have been 23 recorded deaths on the ice since 1905. As we introduce hockey to high school sports, we have to take emotion into account and realize the effect it can have on our student-athletes.

“Usually, I’m pretty calm, but when [I’m] out on the ice, and I’m getting dirty hits landed on me, it’s hard to not do something back,” said junior Jesse Ruelas.

“Usually, I’m pretty calm, but when [I’m] out on the ice, and I’m getting dirty hits landed on me, it’s hard to not do something back.”

— Jesse Ruelas

Ruelas is on the Kalamazoo United hockey team, which is a combined force from Loy Norrix and Kalamazoo Central. KU ended the 2023-2024 season with a 7-15 record with some big wins against Sandusky and Farmington. Anyway during a 5-1 win against Grand Blanc, Ruelas had an altercation with a defender, leading to him being suspended for the next two games. Frustrated with all the built-up emotion throughout the game, Ruelas found that he couldn’t stay calm after being hit.

“I was coming just short of scoring that whole period when he slammed me into the glass. I couldn’t resist to hit him back, but I know I shouldn’t have.,” said Ruelas. “There have been too many fights on the ice leading to bad results.” 

Last October, 29-year-old Adam Johnson played in his last game for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Halfway through the second period an opposing player jumped up skates first and connected with Johnson’s neck. According to NPR, the tragedy has been investigated and labeled a “freak accident,” yet outside sources claim the injury was on purpose. Either way, it has led to more players wearing neckguards for their safety.  

Luckily, fights in hockey have drastically decreased since 2008 with the average number of fights in a season dropping by over a thousand, as reported by Frontiers. Not only are the number of fights decreasing, but the viewership is increasing with even more goals being scored. Hockey is transforming into a safer environment for players and a more entertaining game for viewers. 

“Hockey has always been the most physical sport, but I think it’s the most fun,” said Ruelas. “It’s just a sport where you should be prepared for anything to happen.”

Some viewers find the violence in the game as an enjoyable bonus to the sport of hockey. 

Junior Emerson Agnello loves watching hockey and expresses that although fights add excitement  to the game, the safety of players should still be a priority. 

“I think the fights can make the games more enjoyable at times because you never know when they’re going to happen,” said Agnello. “They can be entertaining sometimes, and it gets the crown amped up, but as long as everyone isn’t seriously injured.”

The environment of hockey is constantly changing. Yet, the safety of players is something that should always be prioritized and we have to take into account players’ emotions in the game. Anger in hockey is usually promoted, but we need to realize the consequences that can come from the emotion and not purely focus on entertainment.

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About the Contributor
Cavan Helms
Cavan Helms, Sports Editor
I'm Cavan Helms, the Sports Editor in Knight Life. I joined because this is a great way to express my creativeness and personality through my writing. In my free time I like working out, and playing sports.

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