Hockey: CIS vs. NCAA games get heated, as per usual; only the stick-swinging is serious

Bad things come in threes. Or fours. The #cawlidgehockey folks all need to have their monocles replaced after some discord during CIS-NCAA exhibition men's hockey on Saturday.

Just the facts:
The first two instances are a bad look, and then some. This isn't an automatic thing; Carleton and Holy Cross' exhibition was pretty sedate.

Both UNB's Gardiner MacDougall and Windsor's Kevin Hamlin are intelligent enough men to know they are accountable, and there will probably be meetings with their superiors to clear up what happened.

The stick-swinging allegation against UNB and Marcoux is the sole disturbing part.

Windsor scuffling with Bowling Green should not be condoned, but it also didn't seem very serious. As much as there has been a lot of welcome progress toward curbing fighting and dirty play in hockey, it will happen from time to time.

At every level of competitive hockey in North America, there is a higher frequency of fisticuffs when two teams meet for the only or last time. Players get a little bolder against opponents they won't be seeing for the rest of the season.

That is not enough reason for #HotTakes calling for an end to early-season exhibitions between CIS and D-1 teams. The schools from the four-letter cartel would not schedule Canadian teams if they didn't believe there student-athletes need that exposure before the NCAA season. The whole reason for exhibition games is to be exposed to something different, in the hope of it creating a benefit down the line.

From a CIS vantage point, negative media coverage does warrant some response. It does suck, on some low level, when media outlets who half-pay attention to CIS teams suddenly snap to it when there is something negative to report. At the same time, that can point up the need to show there are consequences for hockey players behaving badly. There's no equivocation in a case, speaking in the hypothetical, where a player intimidated a child, whether the stick was flung or swung.

For the record, OUA recognizes suspensions imposed by Hockey Canada and USA Hockey. Atlantic University Sport's section on suspensions in the men's hockey regulations doesn't mean honouring suspensions from other associations. Doing so is fairly boilerplate, though.
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1 comment:

  1. Neate, one issue with these NCAA games is the difference in officiating, and it usually has the CIS teams on the back foot. Wrestle with a player in a scrum and happen to grab a player's full cage facemask? 5 minutes or more. Bump a guy hard into boards? 2 minutes for roughing. The NCAA players all wear full cages, and most or all CIS players wear half-visors. Often NCAA players will carry their sticks too high, and inevitably they end up clipping a CIS player accidentally. This never goes well afterwards. Also, since a lot of CIS teams take the body, and are often older and heavier, the NCAA players often retaliate with stick work. I have seen it all in the States. I didn't travel down to the UNB game this year, but in the past every NCAA coach I have interviewed has pointed out the clean play of UNB, especially BC's Jerry York. So something must have gone really off the rails yesterday in the Merrimack game.