Hockey: A Tough Sport by Alex Leef

Most people know that hockey is a tough sport, but most don’t understand the real physical toll that 82 games and the playoffs have on every single player.  With hockey being a contact sport players are expected to give and receive numerous bone-crunching hits on a nightly basis. Most hits just leave a small bruise, but some can leave more serious injuries that would put most other athletes on the sidelines.  In the regular season hockey is still very intense and a physical game, but when your team enters the postseason you are in for something else. 

 In the playoffs, teams are fighting to stay alive and they will beat down their competitor until the final buzzer. Then they do it again two nights later. This is what adds up all the injuries. If you just watch hockey you probably won’t see the effect these injuries have on the players, but when you pay close attention and read reports almost every player has an undisclosed injury.  Teams rarely reveal the player’s injury to the public, mainly because the other team will inevitably target that players injured spot.  For example, Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators suffered a couple of broken bones in his foot and and some torn muscle in that foot. We only know this now because his team was already eliminated.  Most of these reports come as a surprise to the media and the public, but this was more shocking that most. This is because Erik Karlsson was no doubt the best player on his team during the playoffs, and he was playing with a broken foot that would put most people on crutches. Instead he had to hide this so that it wouldn’t be discovered by anyone.  Now, that his team has been eliminated. He is in a boot and receiving proper treatment.

This is just one example of things almost every player goes through every year in the NHL. So, every year these same players suffer injuries, but for some reason still play. It’s probably for the Love of the Game.


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