By now you have seen the (depending on your perspective) embarrassing display in a charity game on Long Island this past weekend between two sets of everyday heroes – the FDNY – NYPD.
This game was supposed to raise money for charity and give some bragging rights to one of the two most well known groups of first responders on the continent.
Instead, they looked like a joke and in the process set the game of hockey back years with a bench clearing brawl.
You see, when parents would have reservations about the violence in hockey and fighting as a reason not to have their kids play the game, you could always point out that a vast majority of these incidents were in the professional (or junior) ranks and that is where it pretty much stayed.
Also as a coach or parent trying to ensure discipline on the ice for kids, you could hold the example that yes, fighting is a sometimes exciting factor in an NHL game, but it should be kept at the level where the dangers are accepted and the players are rewarded handsomely for taking such risks.
Now that the brawl between the NYPD and FDNY has gone super-viral, and you see the representatives of two sets of true heroes duking it out in a Slap Shot type fashion, it is a black mark in the game of hockey and all those involved should be ashamed of themselves.
And this is not coming from some anti-fighting, anti violence person. I get as pumped up as the next guy, or girl about a solid fight in a professional (or pending pro in the case of Major Junior), that arises in the heat of the battle. But I watched that and was embarrassed for all involved and the way it made them look.
Fighting has its place in the game of hockey, but that place is at the highest levels. Not between two organizations that you would expect to know better and set a much better example. People often point out that athletes should not be put on a pedestal and kids should look up to the likes of police, fire fighters, doctors and teachers as their heroes. That notion took a black eye on the weekend.