Ice Guardians (2016) Movie Script

I still remember
I was probably 12 or 13.
We were at one of the stables
and there was a couple guys.
It was like "Oh, what are you gonna do?
You gonna be a vet like your dad?"
Y'know, being a 13 year old
and still a dreamer,
I was like "No, I'm gonna
play in the NHL."
Saturday night, you sit around, and...
if you're not playin' in a tournament,
you're usually watchin' it on TV.
We saw how good these guys played
and how hard they worked
and how tough they were.
We wanted to be like them.
It's all you think about your whole life
is playin' in the NHL.
There was a point
that I realized that
my skillset that I had...
It was only gonna take me so far.
Every league I went into,
I was always a little bit slower
than most players
and I had to establish
myself in some way
to stick in the league.
It was just one of those things where...
you just, kept wanting
to prove whoever wrong
that kept saying that, y'know,
you're not gonna make it.
Eventually, y'know, their skill level
and everything else levels off
and all of a sudden you grow
and your abilities change.
I could just kinda feel like...
guys lookin' outta
the corner of their eye
to like, see what I was gonna do.
Then I finally looked in the mirror
and I was like, God it's me.
It's, it's my role.
Whoa oh-oh-oh-oh! Whoa oh-oh-oh-oh!
I'm not looking for a fight
If you come at me tonight
I'm gonna make-a you sorry!
Don't try my patience, son
There's a reason I'm the one,
People stand aside for
Just play the game you know,
And we won't go toe-to-toe
Tomorrow you'll feel better
You know this ain't a road
For you to freely go,
This is a dead end!
And on it goes
Someone begs for a broken nose
Under the lights, my justice reigns
Oh whoa-oh-oh-oh
Crossing my line, will put you in pain
Oh whoa-oh-oh-oh
You'll be praying to God,
When will it end?
Oh whoa-oh-oh-oh
This is not a fight you can win
here, my friend!
Oh whoa-oh-oh-oh
Oh yeah!
Good evening and thanks for joining us.
It is one of the most disgusting
brutal parts of NHL hockey
and last night, Canadians
watched it all happen yet again.
They are the most feared
players in the NHL
whose role isn't scoring goals,
it's - knocking out the opponent.
They're enforcers.
Scouted, drafted and put
on the ice for one thing...
To fight.
What do you think of
fighting in professional hockey?
It's got its place. I mean...
Hell, two thirds of the people in here,
that's probably all they're looking for.
What do you think of
fighting in professional hockey?
There isn't enough of it.
I don't think it's a problem.
It's just...
they shouldn't fight so hard.
We're not talkin' about MMA,
we're talkin' about hockey.
"What do I think of fighting
in professional hockey?"
I think it's part of the sport.
I do not like it at all,
to be honest with you.
In any sport, especially
professional athletes,
it just is not professional.
It's immature and not necessary.
It stops the flow of the game.
You're a fan of it?
It's fun.
Gets the fans goin', right?
I love it.
It's why I come for the entertainment.
I think it makes the game
more interesting actually.
I still think it plays
a role in the game.
So is there something about hockey
that really lends itself to violence?
Intellectually, it doesn't make sense.
You're trying to
take a round black thing
and put it over a red line.
That's the game!
And whoever does it the
most times, that wins.
Where does the fight come from?
Why does this not happen in football?
Why does this not happen in rugby?
Why does this not happen
in these types of sports?
At the alarming rate that it does,
or more specifically, did,
in the game of hockey?
There's a big difference between hockey
and most other games
because you're moving at
a far higher speed.
Pass to Hall at full speed
and he's hammered!
When you've got guys who are
skating at 30 miles an hour,
and they've got a massive
stick in their hand
which could be a weapon,
you're going to get some kind of tension
that comes from that game.
And in an environment
where a body suddenly
becomes a lethal weapon
because of the speed
at which it's moving,
the danger, the adrenaline level,
the need to protect yourself
is far higher than it is
in a normal environment.
At first you may not feel that...
This is exactly what you wanna do.
You have to make that
adjustment. Like, y'know, I...
This wasn't...
This isn't what I signed up for.
I didn't start playing hockey
to go out on the ice and fight!
It's the last thing I woulda thought of.
But once you start...
I was never able...
To... stop.
To each their own. I mean...
Some guys are...
they do the role because
they have to do the role.
See, I'm a little different I mean...
I look at another guy and
I wanna beat his face in
every time I see that guy on the ice.
I started to fight in development camps.
It was a completely conscious decision.
It was a matter of self-preservation.
If I'm gonna be playin',
the way I want to play
I'm gonna probably have
to fight at some point.
I came out, they sent
somebody out after me
during a scrimmage
I had no idea what I was doing.
I just sort of grabbed'im
and started throwing punches.
I was watching my fist like
it was in slow motion.
I'm doing pretty well here.
This is easy.
As soon as I did that,
that changed everything
I just had a coach there.
He's like, you know,
I think you could actually...
Have a shot at bein'
a pro hockey player.
I'd never heard that before.
It became real.
It became that guys were playing
hard and playing for jobs
and playing for positions.
You had your defensive guys,
your offensive guys
Everybody specialized in something.
They said y'know,
you're gonna play in the NHL.
It might take ya ten years.
But you're gonna hafta fight
every step of the way.
And I said, you know what?
I'll do it.
Even just to be mentioned
in the breath of you might
be getting drafted.
It's like...
You're like "Wow, this
might be a reality!"
That's the time
agents start knocking on your door
and people telling you what might happen
and talking to scouts and
getting letters in the mail.
I remember I waited
by the phone all day.
I didn't actually go to the draft
because I was a later draft pick.
And I got the call from the
Philadelphia Flyers.
And I remember the first thing
my dad said.
Well you're their type of
player, that's for sure.
I signed a pro contract when I was 19
and I thought it was all...
It was all "up" from there.
And then I realized that was
only the start of the battle.
You have a very short... amount of time
to show what you have.
And if you're not
kind of... pegged, it's...
it's gone in an instant.
Every NHL team has an AHL team
that they're affiliated with.
The difference between
the AHL and the NHL,
the AHL being the feeder system
for the NHL.
Guys get called up
and down all the time.
It's a free-market economy.
I was always competin' for jobs.
Never had a "for-sure" thing.
Just, fightin' anybody I could.
Just to, just tryin' to get a shot.
It was four years in the minors,
250-something games.
No call-ups.
The minors were actually
a lot rougher than the NHL, I believe.
I call it "The Jungle."
And the jungle is full of
all sorts of specimens
and like, you never know
what's gonna getcha!
These guys were tough and
I mean they were tough.
I was fighting these guys twice a night.
For an entire season.
Guys that get sent down from the NHL,
people hone in on that.
It's almost like, there's
blood in the water.
It's like omigod, he's down.
If I take him out then they'll see me
and then I'll get my chance,
I'll get my opportunity
If you don't do your job,
and they don't see you progressing,
then when they need someone to call up,
they're not gonna pull your name.
Once that call comes
that you're makin' it,
it's definitely one of the
best days of your life
because you know that
you're gonna get a shot
to play at the next level.
At the level that everybody
dreams and wants to play at.
It's tough getting there.
It's even tougher staying there.
They are having words
at the edge of the circle
and they drop the mitts right away.
Determining when, who,
how, why I would fight,
that was something that I didn't
really get a good grasp of
for a while.
I was fairly stupid in junior.
I was fighting - anytime, any place.
And as I grew older in the
next couple years,
I realized that there were
situations and times
that are better than others.
The camera can only follow the puck
and certain players at certain times.
There's a lot goin' on
that most guys and most fans don't see.
The refs have the ultimate control
on what not gets called
but there's just some stuff
that, that doesn't get called,
that's not going to,
that it's up to the enforcer
to... "take care of."
My opinion of an enforcer is a
guy that protects his teammates.
He goes out there and he
guards against stupid stuff
happenin' to a guy that
can't protect himself.
If somethin' happens during the game,
someone... makes a cheap shot
or runs your goalie.
Y'know, a blindside hit.
An elbow.
A slash.
The stick in the face.
The cross check to the side of the neck.
where a guy gets his feet
knocked out from under him
and slams his back
of his head on the ice.
Those are the types of penalties
that can result in, in mayhem, you know?
Especially if they're missed.
'Cause what's gonna happen is,
If the players feel that
we're not out there
protecting them,
then they're gonna start
to protect themselves.
You're accountable,
no matter what you do.
If you're gonna... sit there
and spear someone
and think that there's gonna
be no retribution,
or you're not gonna have
to answer the bell,
you got another think comin'.
I'll take that one guy
and just use, y'know, his whole
team, as an example.
And just say that one guy
created this for every
single one of you.
So... now you're all on my radar.
I don't care who it is.
If they're gonna take a
cheap shot at me or a teammate.
If you have one fight in your career
or 100 fights in your career,
I'm gonna come at you.
Are they going to...?
And yes, they are.
I'm almost looking for you to do it.
And I'll be sittin' there
and I'll be thinking,
Y'know what, I hope...
I hope you go and touch him.
I hope you say somethin' to him.
If I can't get you,
I'm gonna go to your best player and say
"I'm gonna break your leg
because of him ."
And then they go... " Really?"
When they start beating up on ya,
you can't allow it to happen.
Or it just becomes a bad scene
every game.
If you know that a 6'5",
245 pound... y'know...
"Ice boxer" is comin' after you
because you take a cheap shot
at one of his players,
you're... probably gonna be
less likely to do it.
He's got that look.
He's got that look...
...on the face like, well...
I, I don't buy it.
I just don't feel that there's
support for that theory.
I think that if you
follow the rules of the game...
If the referee is enforcing the rules,
if the league is enforcing the rules...
You don't need enforcers
to be the policemen for the league.
The argument just doesn't hold.
It is the league's responsibility...
To prevent "cheap shots."
And the league has many
opportunities to do that.
Many strategies to protect
their prized possessions
which are the players.
Statistics can't really
tell you something
because there's no control group.
There's no way of really analyzing this.
Some of the players I interviewed
played in various
European mainland teams
where there's no fighting allowed.
And they've also played in the UK
where it's very similar
to North American style.
They've explained to me that
they actually think
there's a lot more cheap shots
going on in the leagues
without an enforcer.
You hear about guys, you know,
North American Players
coming back for the summer
and just say it's a whole
different game over there.
Where guys aren't afraid
to use their sticks,
you know what I mean?
Just because they don't -
guys don't fight over there.
If you speak to skill players,
perhaps they've played
on different teams
and will say they can relax a bit more
when there is an enforcer on the ice.
If you can put a guy off a game...
And take five minutes,
A lot of guys would do it
if they just felt,
well, all I hafta do is...
the referee's gonna gimme five.
How, how painful is that?
If you're gonna score goals,
and you're gonna be the guy
that is gonna beat the other team,
you're gonna hafta...
go through some punishment.
But the unnecessary punishment,
the continuous... punishment...
That's when they step in
and they go, "OK, now I've
told you, enough's enough."
Every game.
Every game it's important.
Whether it happens or not,
there's always that...
You could feel it.
If you know that you have got
the biggest, toughest,
best enforcer on your team,
it gives you the liberties
to go out and play
exactly how you want.
To have all the space you need.
When you have two feet of ice
to work with, it's one thing.
When you have ten feet of ice
to work with,
it's a total 'nother thing.
Guys would literally
not hit me some games
because of who they'd have to deal with.
It was a great feeling.
Chris Nilan in Montreal,
uh, he'd protect me.
You wouldn't notice it, but I would.
I'd get a lot more room out there.
Guys knew if they went after me,
they'd have to answer to him.
I'm just gonna tell you right now,
Brett Hull would not be
the same player he was
without guys like Kelly Chase
and Tony Twist
havin' his back.
I can tell you that right now.
You look at the greats
and stuff like that...
like even Gretzky, I mean he had Semenko
And he was a madman.
Could you imagine takin' Semenko,
McLelland and McSorley
away from the Oilers?
Where do you think
Wayne Gretzky would be?
Where do you think his head would be?
Wayne Gretzky was a skinny
18-year-old, 19-year-old comin' up.
And people thought,
even when he was in the WHA,
he's gonna get killed.
I believe everyone was in accord
that Wayne Gretzky should not
be injured by some person
that didn't have the same
ability as he did.
A lot of times, he'd have his back t'ya.
And if you really wanted to
put him out of the game,
it was there.
One, I wouldn't do that to a guy.
It's just not my personality.
I guess the other one might be
that I would have to deal with
the likes of Dave Semenko,
Mark Messier...
Kevin McClelland.
God knows how many other guys.
Because every one of the guys
would have been... y'know...
Wantin' to hurt ya.
I mean...
It wasn't really what I wanted
to look forward to...
everytime I played the Edmonton Oilers.
Nobody was gonna go out there
and touch Wayne Gretzky
because Dave Semenko
was gonna go after them.
Dave Semenko was going to grab them
and he was going to pound them
into the ice.
I think sometimes that I get
more credit than I deserve
for his career.
Because he was the greatest
player that ever played.
Somebody could come up and
totally blindside him when
he's not looking but...
That's probably when, myself
and some of my teammates
y'know... came into play.
There's no doubt Wayne Gretzky
woulda been a great player with
or without toughness.
But he always had toughness there.
I'm sure if you ask Gretz,
he was happy to have him...
playin' with him, many nights.
And after Dave Semenko,
you had a player like Marty McSorley.
Not only were they good enough
to play on the ice with Wayne Gretzky...
They were also good enough that
he didn't wanna go
anywhere without them.
So when Wayne Gretzky
was traded to the Kings,
Marty McSorley was part of the deal.
Not because the Kings said -
oh please give us Marty McSorley
but because Wayne Gretzky said
I'm not going anywhere without
Marty McSorley.
If the... greatest player in the game
felt that he needed to have
an enforcer with him...
That should answer all your questions.
For years after that,
a lot of star players had another guy
riding shotgun next to them.
Just to make sure nobody
took advantage of them.
Steve Yzerman, he had Bob Probert.
He had him and Joey Kocur.
Mats Sundin, he had Tie Domi there.
He had a buncha guys around
him that took care of him.
Mario Lemieux. I mean every single guy.
It made the game easier for us to play
because they were there.
You didn't see many teams
back in the 80s and 90s
that ever won a Stanley Cup
that didn't have an enforcer.
The New York Islanders...
The Philadelphia Flyers...
The Boston Bruins, the Detroit Red Wings
They maybe only had one enforcer
but they surrounded those enforcers
with some good, tough, physical players.
Followed by the superstars.
Everybody always wants to break it down
and to isolate it to one aspect
and what people don't take away
is the big picture.
It wasn't always scoring the goal
in game 7 of the Stanley Cup,
but there's a lotta games that go
to get that team in that spot.
The tough-guys were a part of that
to make your team a better team
for the long haul.
I think you would have
superstars at the levels
that they are without a doubt
if there was no enforcers.
The length of their career,
I think would be shortened.
They wouldn't be consistently
able to keep that level
throughout the season and
throughout their career.
That's why I think a lot of
these superstar guys
don't want fighting out.
They know....
if there's no fighting,
y'know, they're gonna get it
And I've seen it... happen.
I watch the game now...
Sidney Crosby has been
injured more times
from hits and head injuries and knees...
In one... year
than Gretzky in a career.
Is Sidney Crosby protected?
I don't think he is.
Wouldn't he like to be?
You can't say his...
Concussions are a direct
consequence of that.
But at the same time,
Crosby has been hit more
than any other star I've
ever seen play, so...
It's also hard to say that
it isn't because of that.
I always compare hockey to
life and business.
It's very similar.
If someone can get away with something
in life or business,
they're gonna get away with it.
Same within hockey.
If you penalize a player
or even suspend a player,
You might hurt that person
in the pocketbook
or hurt that person's team.
But, uh, if you're actually
gonna hurt the person,
it's a way bigger deterrent
than those other two things.
Some people might not wanna hear that
but, uh, it is a major, major deterrent
and it's the ultimate deterrent.
You can tell me
till you're blue in the face
that discipline and fining guys
is gonna work,
well I already knew what the fine was
for runnin' Steve Yzerman
in Detroit, if I did it.
It was Bob Probert and Joe Kocur.
And I didn't do it.
I didn't do it in Edmonton.
I didn't run at Wayne Gretzky in L.A.
I didn't let guys on my team
run at a great player.
Because I was gonna be
the guy inevitably
that was gonna pay the price.
Traditionally, the enforcer is
that shark in the water that makes sure
the skill players don't get
taken advantage of.
That's a traditional role.
It's a little more complicated now.
Fighting is very much used
as a tactical benefit.
You will find that teams often
have particular times
when they are told when is
a good time to have a fight
and when is a bad time to have a fight.
Knowing that if you don't do good,
it could be detrimental to the team.
He decked Jackson with
a couple of good left hands!
Why is intimidation effective
at changing the whole pace of a game?
Because once somebody
on your team gets hurt,
that becomes a real preoccupation.
It either makes you feel like a victim
or makes you feel like
it's time for revenge.
The adrenal level goes up.
It changes the very hormonal
"sea" on which hockey is played.
Hockey is not just played on ice...
Hockey is played on hormones.
A hockey game doesn't exist in a bubble.
You are usually either cognizant
of playing these guys before
when something could've happened.
And you're very cognizant
of playing them afterwards
where it might be a more important game
and you want to get the leg up.
How that game goes is gonna determine,
whether for the next week or month,
they are winners...
Or, hormonally and biologically,
they are "losers."
You never want them to be like
"We're playing them? Awesome!"
You want them to go -
"Oh my god, we're playin' them?"
Like, are you kidding me?
And then Flynn goes down
and takes another right hand!
You get somebody scared,
they can't do certain things.
It's almost like a deer in headlights.
They freeze.
Intimidation is really an effort
to dominate another person,
to... bring about fear
in another person,
to destroy another person's confidence
and to present one's self as omnipotent,
as all-powerful.
It's not just a physical thing.
I think that's why you can't
really tell somebody about it.
They need to live it
to really understand it.
I've done it at every level.
From junior to the
East Coast Hockey League,
to the American League,
to the NHL.
And it's worked at every level.
You had to be very careful and
not every time did it work.
There are just some fights
where it just happens
and nothing emotionally
changes in the game.
Just like you can have a
powerplay and nobody scores.
Does that mean it's a waste?
There's a lot of people that
think "momentum" is bullshit,
that it's a phantom element.
And I think that's completely wrong.
I'll defer to the guys that are
on the ice on this one.
I don't play the
authenticity card very often
but in this situation, I don't
know what that feels like!
Mike Cammalleri played here
two seasons ago
and he tapped me on the shoulder
and he's like,
"Man, do you know how easy it is
for me to play
when you're on the bench?"
You don't even need to play.
Just sitting on the bench.
I remember when I got to Montreal,
my stall mate was Davey Desharnais.
And when we played Ottawa,
every time, he goes,
these guys played
so differently against us.
He goes, "They don't say nothing
when you're around."
I would like to have an enforcer
on my team always.
And hopefully the toughest one.
When did fighting start in hockey?
Oh, I couldn't tell you that one.
The beginning of time?
I don't know.
I have no idea.
Fighting started in hockey...
Was there a time when there
was no fighting in hockey?
The first guy on a pond
who had a couple too many
schnapps trying to stay warm,
I assume he whacked a guy
with his stick at some point.
I've been going to hockey since
the mid-60s, late-60s
and it's always been a
part of the game all my life.
I have no idea, but hopefully
the first match they had.
I'm hoping that's when it started.
Go back every year
since the game started.
There's always enforcers.
Fighting has been
part of the game since day one.
The first hockey game ever...
...ended in a fight.
Literally, the first time we
ever played it in an arena,
bench-clearing brawl!
This is always how we've played it.
Sometimes, in the first few games,
there's scraps between
the players and the referees
or even the fans over ice time.
The term "enforcer" didn't come
in until maybe the 70s and 80s.
But, players were protecting players
all the way back into the 20s and 30s.
You can't help it when you've
got skates like knives
and sticks like clubs
in a game where everybody
fights for a small puck.
In the first year of expansion,
that's when hockey changed.
In a number of ways.
You added six more teams,
you doubled up the league.
You had to double up the talent
but you didn't have double the talent.
And for them to stick,
they had to do something
to make themselves known.
It was almost like the beginning of...
The era of specialization of players.
Well, they started bringin' in players
who were just great at fighting.
The first enforcer in the NHL
was probably John Ferguson.
While other players were brought in
because they were tough,
and that was an element of their game,
he was specifically brought in
to not just be tough,
but to fight.
Ferguson was so effective because
he could play the game and he
didn't care who he went after.
He would go after the smaller guys.
He'd start fights with anyone.
And he scared the opponents.
I think that may have started
something of an arms race
and obviously you could name handfuls,
and dozens and dozens
of enforcers from there.
The Broadstreet Bullies,
the Philadelphia Flyers,
were the ones that started
this whole thing
with intimidation and fighting.
The Broadstreet Bullies were created
because of the St. Louis Blues.
They had taken advantage of them
and their owner had said
this isn't gonna happen anymore.
Mr. Snider, the owner,
said y'know if we can't find
all these superstars,
these great skaters, right away,
we can certainly find guys
who can beat other guys up.
Because I do not want see
a Flyers team intimidated ever again.
They almost went over the top with it.
They said alright,
if the Bruins can do this,
if they can have a series of
very skilled players
surrounded by some pretty tough players,
maybe we can have some
pretty skilled players
and really, really tough players.
And they drafted Schultz and Saleski,
and they traded for DuPont,
and they changed their
whole team around.
They took it to a whole other extreme.
And that became pack fighting
and that became the idea that, well,
the referees aren't gonna fill
the penalty box for 60 minutes.
Teams in those days
had y'know, 1 or 2 tough guys
that could duke it.
That could take care...
The Flyers had like seven of 'em.
We'd go into cities...
and seriously... headlines,
"Hide the women and children,
here come the animals!"
At one point my mother, back in
Rosetown, Saskatchewan
read that Dave Schultz should be
kicked out of the league.
The league hated 'em.
Y'know, everybody hated 'em.
The only people that loved 'em
were Philadelphia
and, and Ed Snider.
All of our guys said, look,
they think we're tough.
We better live up to our reputation.
They went out there with that mentality
that they were just gonna
beat the shit out of anyone
who stepped on the ice with them.
And they did it, and they won.
We were winning, all four years
I was here.
Two Stanley Cups, went
to the finals the fourth year.
That advantage of that intimidation
really helped them.
At that time, they could do that
and get away with it.
What they did was make teams... copy it.
That's when it dovetailed
right into the 80s as well.
Even in the Wayne Gretzky era.
That high flying 80s era.
The Ranger-Islander games
would take three and a half hours.
The Battle of Alberta would
take three and a half hours.
Do I even need mention what
Montreal and Quebec
would do to each other?
Of those six teams,
probably half the players
should have been in prison
for what happened on the ice
during some of those games.
So there was that uber-violence
in the 80s as well.
Like anything, it became...
a culture developed around it
for better and for worse.
By... early 90s, things started
to change a little bit.
You didn't have those
2 or 3 guys anymore.
It went from the three
down to two, down to one.
Enforcers were...
probably what we think of
now as enforcers.
They were prototypical
fighters and tough guys.
They were able to play...
But they weren't always allowed to play.
It was when players really
went from being big to gigantic.
When the "staged fights"
started to happen.
The showboat fight,
the centre ice fight,
the spotlight fight.
And here we go!
Line brawl to start this game!
Up until the 90s there
wasn't that "staged fight"
and that's when, in a lot of ways,
things got really dangerous
and things got really serious.
Here's Boogaard and
King dropping the gloves!
This is as heavy...
this is as big as it gets
This is a super-heavyweight bout!
King lands a right!
The evolution of training for enforcers
and much more skill-specific training
has gone along with
the better and more
specific skill training
in hockey and... a lotta sports.
Once upon a time,
you just had to be... tough
and willing to do it
and throw a lot of punches
really quickly.
Now it's at a point where people
are takin; Uh, boxin' classes
or martial arts classes.
Jiu-jitsu and grappling
and stand up Greco-Roman wrestling.
Lifting the weights,
bungee cord sprints.
Sled pulls, sled pushes.
They're running hills,
they're doin' plyometrics,
they're jumping,
they're doing band weight lifting.
Where, y'know ten years ago,
no one would have lifted with a band.
Everyone's got their own
personal trainer.
They've got psychologists.
They're workin' with everybody
to try to make themselves better.
Training now for players
is an all-year-round thing.
I had a comparable VO2
to almost Lance Armstrong one year.
It was just insane.
Probably 4 to 6, sometimes
8 hours of workouts a day.
In my offseason, I started
to adapt some kind of medieval workouts.
I had some issues with the hands
and I almost had the Palmolive hands,
like dishwasher's hands,
you know, just soft.
I used to wrap my hands with
these types of chains
and then just go around
and just whack trees
and tried to beat my knuckles up
as much as I possibly could
until they started callousing up.
And then you make 'em like leather
and they can take a lot more abuse
when you use 'em as hammers.
On people's faces.
Guys would laugh and say, "let's train."
It's like an executive workout
to what they, how they train now.
All we did was win cups and drink beer.
I guess, Idunno...
Which wasn't too bad either.
Boogaard and Orr going at it.
Early on, strategy wasn't there for me.
I was just gonna go out and
throw 'em as hard as I can.
When I was younger,
it was kinda just... chuck away.
Wasn't too worried about defence, 'n...
...there was, uh, lots and lots
of punches thrown.
You lose a couple points
early in a boxing fight,
you can come back in the
later rounds and win the fight
But in a hockey fight,
you've got a one shot window.
Most fights happen
within 20, 30 seconds.
For me, the most important
part of any fight
was always the first second,
the first couple seconds,
the initial grab.
Gimme your shoulder, man.
And, and where's his head?
I could close my eyes.
I know where it is.
It's right next to my hand!
Basically if I got a hold of him,
I would just start pullin' in
and start puttin' my fist
through their face.
So I just get the double momentum goin'.
Now, there's certain technical things
that come into play
like if they're a lefty,
if they're a righty.
You are gonna get hit.
It's gonna happen.
But you're just tryin'
not to get hit square.
You gotta be within
striking distance all the time
otherwise you're not
gonna get in a fight.
From fight to fight,
or from season to season,
you mould into your,
your style of fighting.
You know, Tie Domi, he was a southpaw.
And the way he fought, it was just...
it was different.
Georges Laraque, a lefty as well.
He was notorious for swinging
guys in a circular pattern.
And then you have Donald Brashear.
Which kinda hugs you, pulls you in.
Pushes you out,
gives you a couple rat-a-tats,
pulls you back in, pushes you out.
Or Joey Kocur,
he goes for the big right.
If he doesn't land the right,
that's your time to attack him.
Some of the big boys,
like Boogie and some of those boys,
they would grab a hold and
try to punch through your head.
I used to love watching Tony Twist.
He would just rear back from
two postal codes over
and throw from there.
It's just the evolution of the sport.
And not being stagnant
and just stuck in a rut.
Kinda like, yeah I do this.
I drop the mitts and I throw down.
For me, I found that
by wearing a bigger jersey,
when they grabbed on to it,
I could get my arm out.
So you went to, maybe if
the shoulder pads came off too,
then it would help even more.
Through trial and error,
it got to the point where
you don't even wear the tie-down.
You'd cut that right off the jersey.
There's no straps on the shoulder pads,
you just have them sit on.
You put a little Velcro
on the shoulder pads.
When they'd pull,
everything would come right off.
And you'd just see
their eyes in most cases
like "Uh-oh what the hell
am I gonna do now?"
There was no way for them
to keep their balance,
there was no way for them
to get any leverage.
It worked until, y'know
they put a stop to it.
Rob Ray's got the magic uniform,
he really has!
One tug and it's all off.
One time I was fightin' George Parros
and I was just like, "What
have I never done before?"
And I was just like, "I got this."
Threw my glove at him and
kinda caught him off guard
...just like that.
And I was like "gotcha!"
And then he tried to throw
his glove back at me
I caught it in midair and
threw it into the stands
and it was like "It's on."
You could almost see him go like...
"Damn it."
"Really, Parker?"
"Like, really?
You just did that?"
Sometimes I'll let a guy kinda hit me...
because it makes me... my eyes turn...
and this switch goes off
in my head when I get hit
and I just wanna kill the guy.
It's not really the safest thing be doing.
But that's why there's only a select few
of us maniacs that do it.
The greatest enforcer of all time?
Who do I regard as the
greatest enforcer of all time?
I was not one, but I'm not
a bad-lookin' guy.
There's so many players
that were doing that,
it's pretty hard to pick one player.
Dave Brown
Dave Semenko,
The Hammer, ' Dave Schultz
Toss up between Knuckles Nilan...
Put Kordic on there too.
Tie Domi was always fun to watch.
The little, little guy.
When he was younger,
the spinning, the ducking
and beating guys that were
like 6'5" and 6'6".
Not just beating them -
like, knocking them out.
In my opinion,
the toughest guy in the league
was Joe Kocur.
Joe Kocur was somebody,
not a big guy - but he hit,
y'know, like a ton a'bricks.
When people say, "Who's the
toughest guy you ever fought?"
I say Terry O'Reilly.
I fought him 8 times.
I mean he wouldn't let me
fight anybody else on that team.
Wendel is up there for me,
pound for pound.
Have to say I honestly think
Georges Laraque is a contender.
Because, how many...?
Google him.
How many fights did he lose?
Stu Grimson and Bob Probert.
Thank God I wasn't playing then
because I wouldn't want
any part of any of 'em.
When you look at a
well-rounded player...
Who is known as an enforcer
and nothing else,
it's really hard to get past Bob Probert
as being the best ever.
Bob Probert.
Yep, I think Bob Probert is
hands down, the man.
Bob Probert, I mean he was the best.
He was always a little...
I dunno, I guess the word
would be a little 'crazy.'
When he did decide to fight...
He was unstoppable.
He would control you
for the first 30 seconds of the fight.
He may get hit 5, 10 times in that time
but... he never got hit hard enough.
And after you got tired
maybe throwin' a few punches,
he would start takin' over.
He scored goals, too.
He put up numbers
in a time when the league
was probably at its toughest.
I think he had 72 points
and 395 penalty minutes one season.
And was on the all-star team.
He was nuts.
I always tried to like...
mould myself after him.
He was, hands down,
the greatest... ever.
And they've gotta stop the fight here
because that busted the visor
right off his helmet.
And check if Beaulieu's hand is alright!
It's gotta be the toughest
out of any position.
My hands, for the first 4 or 5 years,
it was to the point where
it always hurt to put the glove on.
You're putting an open wound
into a dirty glove.
I've never seen knuckles
like the likes of yours.
At one point, as soon as I hit somebody,
I had one knuckle that would
just turn deep purple.
I'd soak my hands every period in ice.
Yeah, these old meat claws,
they don't look as pretty
as they used to.
My career as a hand model
may have been over before it started.
Over the years I've had
a few surgeries on it.
I don't know if you can get those.
I've got a nice Band-Aid
on it right now.
I've broken pretty much
all the bones in here.
There's four bones here,
four bones there.
I had a boxer's fracture here.
I broke this knuckle here.
They took a ligament
out of my wrist here
and they put it into my thumb
to repair it.
Basically, I kinda snapped
the tendon in it.
I wish this fuckin' thing
would heal quicker
because... these Band-Aids look gross.
Before I turned 24,
I've had four surgeries on my shoulders.
I popped both of my shoulders
out from takin' a body check.
You get cuts over the eyes, the nose.
I got a tooth knocked out.
I broke my nose a couple times.
It was only a couple times.
I've thankfully actually been
pretty lucky.
I think the most I had was maybe
30 stitches in my forehead
That mighta been the worst one
on my face that happened.
There's a plate here.
A plate here with a mesh that
goes back into the head.
Two plates here supporting
the cheekbone.
Three implants for teeth.
Upper jaw was broken up here.
Break here in the cheekbone.
Diagnetic arch here.
Another plate here.
Right here there's three plates
where I got a slapshot in the face.
Broken molar obviously back here.
And then the cuts and
you can see where the scars are.
They put me back together.
The doctors are good.
Sometimes after I fight,
I wake up in the morning
and I feel like I got in a car accident.
You're lyin' there and your...
body is just... mangled.
And you gotta play through it.
We'd break our hand and go out
the next night and fight again.
It's a wear on the body
but it also takes a mental toll
on you as well.
The nice thing is,
punches never hurt while
you're in a fight, because...
...either your
adrenaline is goin' too much
for you to notice it
or if you really got clocked...
You're knocked out before
you even know what happens.
It's a hard way to earn an easy living.
The enforcers in hockey
have the toughest job in all of sports.
The emotional part takes a toll
more than the physical part
Going home and seeing your kids
and having a pre-game meal and a nap.
Thinking about this the whole day.
I couldn't imagine anything harder
than to wonder ...who
you're gonna fight.
Or if you're gonna have to fight at all.
When you were a kid...
The playground fight all
lined up for you after school,
and you gotta wait from
lunchtime till 3:30,
for that bell to ring.
That's how it feels.
Before games, I'd get the stomach going.
I'd almost be like...
...sick to my stomach.
But if you don't get yourself amped up,
if you aren't ready for it,
then you're gonna be -
run over by a semi
and wonderin-what the hell jusppened.
There would be times...
before I'd fight Georgie Laraque,
when he was playin' for
Edmonton, I mean...
I would have to fight him in my mind...
500 times
and then come to find out
he's scratched or I don't play.
I used to get on a plane, y'know
and you're flyin' some place
to play or whatever
and you know that there's
somebody on the other team
that you're gonna fight.
And inevitably if I didn't
have my hands strapped in...
I'm gonna be like,
Like this, I'm gonna hit
somebody sittin' next to me!
As stupid as it sounds,
I would literally have them...
Put the seatbelt right over my hands!
Crazy, but it's true.
True story.
I'd be sweatin' in my bed.
In my pre-game nap... cold sweats.
Wake up, usually
have a snack, can't eat.
Try and put a cup of coffee down.
Just go to the rink
and sit in your stall
and think about it.
Now you're about 20 minutes
away from game-time
and it's startin' to get real.
The emotions get even higher, y'know...
You skate in the warmup,
you got the wind blowin' in your face,
you got people chanting,
you got the signs everywhere.
You got the haters, you got the lovers
And you got the tough guy
starin' across from you
across the red line.
And he's thinkin' the
same thing you are.
I usually can't even
really stickhandle the puck.
I kinda just uh, sing
the music to my head
that's on in the warm up and...
Fire a couple shots.
Right up to the moment of the fight,
your heart is beatin'
right through your jersey
and the longer you sit,
the worse it gets.
As soon as you grab on and
you're engaged in that fight
all that goes out the window.
Everything that you've thought of
everything that's surrounding you,
it just goes out the window
and you don't hear anything.
It's the most bizarre thing.
I can't really hear anything.
It's like this silence comes over it.
I don't think that thought
of that fight ever goes away
until it happens.
And then once it does, you're
thinkin' about the next one
so it's a constant struggle.
And balancing emotions and...
Energy the right way.
If I start worrying about just
playing and stuff like that,
my game's a lot better
but if I go into the fight,
I don't have that edge.
The mental part is a part of
your whole day.
Your whole year.
Your players expect it,
your coaches expect it,
the fans expect it.
Can't take a night off.
Every time you're playin',
you gotta think the worst
is gonna happen.
It's not an opportunity where
you're allowed to say "no."
If you want to you can but...
You're probably not gonna be
in the NHL for very long.
You could be here one day,
king of the town,
the next day they ship you
outta town and you're nothin'.
You look at a heavyweight boxer,
he'll fight once or twice a year.
And those are with gloves on.
And you look at NHL enforcers,
and these guys fight uh, 20, 30 times,
On skates.
When you're young,
and you're 18 and 17
and you're doing it,
and you're 24, you're still doing it,
25, next thing you know, you're 30
and 20-year-olds comin' around.
Usually guys, when they get older,
around my age like 32, 33, 34,
they're like "Holy fuck,
I'm done with this shit!"
How did I ever do that?
How'd I do it for eleven years?
It's a lot more emotional and wearing...
On that player or on those people
Than what people think of it as.
Two heavy hitters at centre ice
and Martin knocks Kostopolous
to the ice.
And Matt Martin is calling over
the training staff.
The biggest fear in the role we
had is just being embarrassed.
We never wanted to let
our teammates down.
Just getting knocked out.
Simple as that.
In front of 20,000 people.
National TV.
I was afraid every game.
I was afraid to lose.
I was afraid, if I dropped
the gloves with somebody,
they were King Kong.
The injury part is a big thing for us.
Whoever says they're not worried
or not afraid of it
is lying to your face.
Because I feel like I'm not
afraid of anything,
and I don't let it control me,
and I'm not worried about it
every single second.
But it's always there.
You get knocked out.
Y'know, not knowin' where you are.
It happens to everyone.
I messed up.
I grabbed the wrong hold
or something, it came across
and I was out cold.
I was lyin' on the... lyin' on the ice.
Bambi-legs tryin' to get up.
There's somethin'
in the back of your mind
that kinda knows what's goin' on.
Obviously you're a little... out of it.
But it's like...
It's scary when
you're kind of watching the fight
and you see y'know, the ref
immediately, kind of...
over him motioning for medical
staff to come on to the ice.
I remember seein' my wife first after
and it was basically like
"I'm so sorry."
Just a shitty feeling
to know I'd gotten beat
and to know that the people
that care about me most, like,
had to see it.
I would definitely say that was
one of the tougher...
...things that being the
wife of an enforcer
that I've had to go through with him.
Is just watching him go through that.
Fred Shero gave us a quote that said,
"If you do not want to be criticized...
When I read that I went,
"Well I should expect to
get criticized."
So... go ahead.
'Cause I don't wanna be nothing.
Certain media guys try and do their best
t'understand it.
There's a...
A handful of 'em that don't want to
and they're right to have their opinion.
Unfortunately for the guys
that are the biggest naysayers...
They don't get in the
locker room other than when
you're in your underwear and a towel.
So they don't really know.
Some people out there
who have opinions about hockey,
all they know is Slapshot,
the Bertuzzi incident,
the Brashear incident
and these black smudges on the game
that we're more pissed-off about
than anybody.
Well, Slapshot 's an
amazing movie, however...
If I was gonna answer honestly,
I would probably say no.
They haven't portrayed them accurately.
Just because they don't have a clue
what's goin' on in that locker room
or, or what they mean to us
as people and players and teammates.
When that guy walks in the room,
everybody gets up.
The team captain will say
"what a great job by so and so."
When you're gettin' respect
from your peers,
I think some of the media guys
should understand that.
I think I know what it's like
to win the Stanley Cup.
But I don't know.
I don't really know.
I think I know.
So if you've never been in a fight
or never known what it's like
to have a guy on your team
that's been in a fight,
don't tell me you know what it's like!
American hockey
particularly loves statistics.
They invent new terms like 'winning-est'
which doesn't actually exist.
And you've got stats on everything.
So we can see things like
whether enforcers have
increased or reduced ice time
based on their performance.
We can see how much time they spend
in contact with the puck
and what their plus-minus statistic is.
All that kind of stuff.
But none of that is going to tell you
what motivates them.
None of that is going to explain
the culture that they exist in
and the culture that
encourages their violence
and sort of... often
criticizes them at a later point
for their violence.
Any news story has a narrative
and so they pick their narrative
and they have to commit to it.
This is not to say that the
narrative they've picked
is uh... wrong.
It's just only one side of it.
They go out there and, y'know,
2 million people or
5 million people in that city.
It gets picked up across the country
are reading about it and
influenced by it
so they just jump on board and
say, "There's another dummy."
Are enforcers goons?
You could say yes and no.
Wh, wha..what is a "goon?"
I don't even really understand
what a goon is.
I just don't know why
I don't like that name.
It just sounds so sloppy or something.
Are accountants "bean-counters?"
If you went up to an accountant
and called him a bean-counter
he probably wouldn't like it.
The polite word is "enforcer."
This guy is a goon.
If you haven't seen the movie,
you don't have to bother.
This is a goon.
It's Scott Parker with that goatee,
Steve Konroyd
He looks like he's just been
released on a weekend furlough.
Looks like he could own a Harley
and a leather jacket
and everything else.
A goon implies that - the player
has no, no ability...
Or can't even think.
You know, 'cause what the fuck
is a goon?
Didn't George Parros
graduate from Princeton?
George Parros and I
are Princeton graduates.
Speaking with him I think he got
a lotta the same questions, where...
"So you're an enforcer,
but you went to Princeton?
Like, what's that all about?"
I'm whatever you wanna call me.
I don't care.
I just did my job.
If other guys are offended,
then so be it.
They did bring up, throughout the years,
back in the 80s and 90s,
when toughness was
very important to a team,
they did bring in players that...
Were there for one game,
one reason, one shift.
Those players might only have
lasted 1, 2, 3, 5 games.
The enforcers,
the ones that really made
a difference to teams,
lasted 5, 10, 15 years.
The truth is that anybody
whose name you've heard
was not a goon.
If they stuck around
long enough to be there,
they were able to play hockey.
Is there a virtue...
That's overlooked by those
who look at hockey?
You bet.
But you don't know it, until you
step into the dressing room
and interview one of these guys.
You think that this guy is a monster.
You think that he has no
compunctions about breaking arms
breaking legs, smashing out teeth.
You think he's merciless.
That he should be exterminated,
he's a cockroach of the gang.
And then you sit down with him
and discover that he has
the most magnificent set of
ethics and morals
you have ever seen in your life.
In pursuing the question
of the enforcer,
you're pursuing the question
of 'what it is to be human.'
What does the enforcer call on?
Profound loyalty.
Loyalty so deep that he's
willing to risk his own...
His own body, his own bones,
his own teeth, his own brain.
On behalf of protecting people
he deeply loves?
The enforcer is
the most ethical and moral
member... of the tribe.
Because he is willing to undergo
such incredible sacrifice.
That's looking at it from the
inside of the group.
Looking at it from the outside
of the group,
the enforcer is the ultimate enemy,
the super-bad guy.
And must be eliminated.
But that's 'cause you
and I are looking at it
from the point of view of another group.
If we were looking at it from
within the group
that the enforcer defends,
we would love the enforcer
b ecause the enforcer loves
every single one of us so much.
He is willing to give his life for us.
I mean you think about
that what their role is.
They're gonna go out and stand
in front of millions of people
and bare-fist fight for their teammates.
That tells you right
there what their credibility is.
So sometimes that is, uh...
why a call up comes for somebody
who, y'know isn't gonna put 30 goals up.
It's because you want that
element in your locker room.
You want that element at your practices.
You want that element in the gym.
You want that element in your games.
Having that guy
who's supporting everybody,
who's willing to put himself
on the line,
and sacrifice and be selfless and...
drive his head through a wall
for anybody on his team.
A lotta times enforcers
are players that...
People sometimes wonder why
they get along with
everybody in the room.
And a lotta times it's because they
were like everybody in the room.
A lot of it has to do with...
them not taking for granted
the opportunity that they have.
They're living every day
like it could be their
last day in the NHL.
With very few exceptions,
I had better dealings
with the tough guys.
The guys that you knew were... up front
about what their role on their team was
than some of the flashier guys.
We used to call 'em "pretty boys."
It's unbelievable,
the things they do - away from the game.
And then you look at 'em when they...
pull that jersey over their head
and they become this bigger than life...
Person that will drop the gloves
and protect his teammates,
and fight for his city and his fans.
At the end of the day, you can't
put your body on the line
the way we do
if it's just for money
or if it's just for the lifestyle.
There's gotta be more to it.
There was a series of studies done
with the University of Chicago
on group evolution.
And in the evolution of a group,
you usually have a leader,
you have a lieutenant, who's
a kind of an enforcer,
you have a joker,
and you have a nerd.
And no matter where
they looked in society,
no matter what kinds of groups
they looked at,
juvenile gangs, the mafia,
legitimate groups of all kinds,
they found this basic structure.
So they tried an experiment.
They took just the alpha leaders
and they put them in a group.
To see how a group that's all
leaders would formulate itself.
And what happened?
One became the leader,
one became the enforcer,
one became the joker
and one even became the nerd.
Every group they studied
had that breakdown.
So the breakdown in hockey
that leads to an enforcer
is actually the externalization
of an old, deep, emotional,
human and social template.
You're always going to get
people who are much more likely
to lay themselves on the line
for other people.
And you find those people are
much more attracted to things
like the military.
And they're
much more likely to be willing
to sacrifice their own health
or their own body
for... somebody else.
If you're the kind of person
that's drawn to that kind behaviour,
you'll find some outlet for that.
Whether that's taking on
that role in hockey
or whether it's engaging in another way.
When I was in Tampa Bay,
a few reporters came up to me
and asked me,
y'know Zee, at the end of
the day, y'ever step back
and say is this all worth it?
Is it worth it to fight
33 times a year...
And have a busted-up hand,
and have stitches in your face?
My answer to them was that
when I was in the
East Coast Hockey League,
I was makin' $360 after-taxes a week.
And I was doin' the same thing.
They have a love for it.
Because if you don't,
you wouldn't do it.
Konopka upset that
he wasn't able to continue.
It's not civilized to admit that
you love that adrenaline rush
because you're putting yourself
in that type of competition
and that type of battle
with somebody else but...
Man, the adrenaline.
People go chasing it many,
many different ways.
I always thought it was like a drug
when you come out of
that penalty box or somethin'.
Is it?
I don't know...
You're fired up.
It's the best feeling.
It's not uh, trendy to say is...
how many of the guys that fight
for a living like doing it?
The shame isn't a universal thing
for all the hockey fighters,
I don't think.
I say things like
"If I coulda scored 30 goals,
I woulda never fought."
But I think I'm just crazy enough
to actually realize that...
If I saw somebody go after
my, my teammates,
and... know that I could do
something about it,
it's, it's still there,
and that switch still flips.
The Latin principle ...
which roughly translates to,
"No injury is done to he whom consents"
is actually a very, very
embedded legal term
which means that sports, in particular,
but certainly sort of
other areas as well,
people can engage in
kind of... violent behaviours
because they're consenting to it.
So for example, a boxer
can't sort of, sue his opponent
if he loses a fight...
because he's consented
to go into the ring
and engage in that violence with
a kind of full appreciation,
full consent of what will happen.
When you drop your gloves,
you're saying,
"I am allowing you to do something
that is harmful to my well-being."
"We have that, that unwritten
contract between us."
McGrattan loses
his balance, gets back up
and they're both saying, no, no, no
we're both fine, let us go.
Yeah of course there's gonna
be somethin' negative
that happens out of it.
That's the nature of the beast.
I mean...
That's what happens when
two grown men fight.
Is everything perfect in the
enforcement category in the NHL?
But there's nothin' perfect in life.
We literally have numbers
of people dying every year
working on crab boats
so that you can get yer
'snow crab-leg special' at Red Lobster.
And then we have entertainers
who go out and punch each other
in the face
or go out and bash into
each other for 3 or 4 hours.
We like to watch that happen.
That's what sports are.
It's high-risk / high-reward.
My risk is fighting and getting injured,
but my reward -
I got to play in the NHL.
It's such a fine line between
having that choice and decision
to be made by a grown adult
and having that basically taken away
because people disagree with that.
What is the atmosphere like in an arena
when a fight breaks out?
What is the crowd like?
It's electric!
Honestly I think that's
one of the reasons
why people go to hockey games.
You don't see that in baseball.
Maybe a little bit in football.
That's... why I... come...
To enjoy the games.
It's an uproar and it's like hoo-wee!
And I'm like...
I don't know.
I never look at the other people.
I kind of focus on the fight more.
It gets super exciting.
Oh, yeah. People love it.
That's when the crowd's
gonna pay the most attention
to anything that's goin' on
at any point in time.
Those minute and a half
that everybody's on the edge
everybody in the beer line
turns around and looks.
The old saying, "I came to a fight
and a hockey game broke out...?"
There's two times when the people
stand up in a hockey game.
It's when there's a goal scored
and when there's a fight.
And when there's a fight,
everybody stands up.
One of the most
intriguing emotional moments
in a hockey game
for me, has always been
the tiny little slice of time
right before they first engage.
Where it's about to happen
and that tension is built-up
like the ketchup is so
full in that bottle
that, when you finally hit it,
it just sort of explodes.
And the crowd... roars
Outta nowhere...
Just... two players drop the gloves.
Maybe you caught it, maybe you didn't
It doesn't really matter how it started.
If you didn't see it before,
you see where the heads are all pointed.
You look where they're looking -
And you feel this energy that
sort of overtakes you.
It's kind of collective, guttural
sort of, sort of a roar.
Y'know, it's a different...
It's a different sound
coming out of the crowd
than when a goal is scored.
There was this constant noise and
chatter and everything goin' on...
But it elevated to the point
where it was just like...
Oh my God.
Like, I was in the Rocky movie.
Even if they don't want
two people to fight,
they're gonna watch.
It's almost instinctive in us.
It hearkens back to... the schoolyard.
"Hey there's a fight!"
What does everybody do?
Whoa! Way to go, baby.
They don't like it at all here!
If there was no response from the fans,
a lot of the intensity of
the fight would sort of - leave.
21,273 people and uh,
and a fight's happening.
You tell me you don't feel it
in the pit of your stomach.
And you tell me there's not...
fuckin' hairs...
standin' up on your arm.
I'd say, if not,
check your fuckin' pulse.
They're on their feet
at First Niagara Centre
as Kane races down the tunnel.
His night is done.
6-3 Panthers in the third.
I'm not sure how I can rationalize
something as emotional
as a hockey fight.
There's, I dunno, What is it?
Monkey-DNA in me, and all of us as well,
which produces this disconnect between
what my head knows
and what my heart feels.
I can't explain it logically.
Because logically, it makes no sense.
It's a sport.
Where does this violence come from?
Why is there such a great disparity
in our attitudes toward violence?
We've gone from tribes of 35 people
to groups of 1.4 billion people.
The bigger your group gets,
the more differentiation you get.
And every subculture represents
a different hypothesis,
a different guess about
the way the world works.
There is no denying that,
rightly or wrongly,
you do get an emotional jolt from it.
It may turn into disgust, that's fine.
It may turn into, y'know adoration.
But there is no denying
that something happens to us emotionally
when we're about to see a fight.
There's an element
where you kind of
have to look at whether -
the pugilistic idea
that people are used to
finding a physical outlet
for their emotions
is appealing to people.
In us humans, we don't
want those instincts to fight
to manifest themselves in daily life.
We do not want fights
in major corporations
in the accounting room.
We simply don't want that.
The entertainments are exercises
for the animal instincts within us.
What we can learn about human nature
from the role of the enforcer in hockey
is this sense of an innate
desire to see justice being done
whatever form that might be.
And that's something
we like to see played out
in all society, not just in hockey.
It's conflict.
That's what contact sport is all about.
A hero and a villain,
they're essentially
mirror images of each other
they just have different jerseys on.
And you care about one
more than the other.
If there's not someone hecklin' you,
and telling you 'you suck'
and you, you're a bag of shit
and that you're a pussy,
then you haven't done your job.
Toronto, like when there'd be Tie Domi,
we'd come in and
I was getting booed there.
It was kinda cool.
Like finally, I grew up a Leaf fan,
and I'm gettin' booed by 'em.
I think that's the beauty of sports
is you can go watch the
pride of your city,
or the pride of your home,
be built up...
in the safety of an $80-a-night seat.
We have taken that instinct
for groups to battle to the death
and we've found an outlet
for those instincts in a whole new way.
It's called "Sports."
It's called the kinds of
massively-organized sports
that only things like television
or radio make possible.
And through sports,
we can exercise those instincts
without killing each other.
But the old instincts are still there.
In violence we find our identity.
In violence we find our unity.
And those who are on
the outskirts of society -
those are our heroes.
And that's something
that's constantly shifting
with the public's attitude.
How the media frame things
and what events are
happening at the time.
Fundamental tribalisms.
The tribalism that exists
in your gut and my gut.
Whether we want to
acknowledge it or not,
it is always there.
It is heart and soul and breath of us.
How does "etiquette" come out of
the chaos of hockey?
It's gotta sound so odd and just crazy
to be so... civil when you're,
y'know, being so violent.
They call it "the code."
Everybody knows what it is
but nobody knows what "it" is.
It's basically a kind of list of
informally agreed-upon rules.
You agree that something's been unfair.
You agree that the best way to settle it
is to have a fight.
You agree to the rules by
which that fight will happen.
Wanna go or no?
Want to? OK.
Square up?
OK, good luck man.
The first one that comes to mind is that
y'know, when a player
goes down to the ice,
you try not to punch their head
through the ice.
You never jumped somebody from behind.
You never sucker-punched anybody.
No biting, no eye-gouging.
Simple things like that.
If you know the opponent's
injured or he can't fight,
out of respect, you just kinda
like, let him be.
Or if that guy had just
gotten called up,
and instead of comin' up
and whackin' you,
spearin' you,
'n says,"hey, y'know
if I don't do it tonight,
then I'm gonna get sent down."
Then you're like, "I gotcha, kid."
There's many a'times that...
a heavyweight would come over
and say, "We're gonna go now"
And I'd say, "How 'bout
at the start of next period?"
I'm just at the end of a shift.
I'm done.
And you're the bigg est guy
on the team right now
and I'd rather be ready.
So we'll be fightin' in the
second period, not right now.
OK! Sounds good.
Oddly enough,
the guy that you're squaring off against
probably understands
a lot more about your role
and your day to day... mentality,
Especially come game time,
than all those teammates
and other people that you live with
because he's doing the same thing.
We don't wanna hurt the other guy,
but we do want to hurt the other guy.
It's a catch-22.
Sometimes even before
the linesmen get in,
you're tappin' each other
on the back, sayin' "good fight"
and you skate off.
There's been a number
of times where I've... y'know punched in the face,
punched people in the face
and later that night,
I've gone, had a beer with them.
It's almost like two warriors
looking back at their careers
and saying, "Hey, you know what...?"
"We made it out the other side."
And forever they'll have
this, sort of... unspoken bond.
It all seems wildly entertaining
until something like this happens.
You never like to see another player
y'know, unconscious on the ground
thinkin' that you did that to them.
You deal with it and you
make your decisions
based on adding all those
different pieces up.
People say, "Do you feel bad?"
"Do you feel bad about...
That fight with Westgarth?
You knocked him out cold."
The simple answer's "No."
I don't feel bad about the things I did
because they're not done
in a malicious way.
Not everyone's wired the same
but... that's my viewpoint.
I guess... y'know, some guys
have beaten some guys up
to the point where maybe
they feel bad about it.
In the heat of the moment, you don't.
It's a conflict.
I probably... should lie on the couch...
For a long time.
And discuss this to get it outta my...
y'know, get it straight.
I don't think
an enforcer feels bad about it
because he understands
what it brings to the table
and he sees the big picture.
No, I never did...
but I know guys that did.
I know Derek Boogaard
was a guy that hurt me real bad
We ended up playing together after that.
We actually sat down and spoke about it,
as teammates now...
I was taken back by the fact that
he was actually worried about me.
He's like
"Y'know, I'm sorry about that."
I was just like
"Man, don't ever say that."
I would've done it to you
in a heartbeat.
If I could do the job and
win the fight without...
...causing bodily harm,
I wished I coulda done that.
But, uh, the people that I...
did it to...
were enforcers as well
so they, they knew the risk.
I coulda been on the other end of that.
We all had a choice.
You're not there because
somebody held a gun to your head
and said, hey this is the
role you're gonna play.
If I get knocked out,
I'm not gonna be mad at
the world or the establishment
for putting me into a hockey fight.
I mean, I chose that path,
I chose that role.
I chose to fight that guy
and the circumstances,
whatever they'll end
up being are... y'know...
Are up in the air.
There's a bigger message in that act.
So, apologizing for it
was never something I was...
I didn't...
Think about it.
Because I didn't think I had to
apologize for... y'know,
doing my best.
Once was bad enough, twice was shocking,
and now for the third time since May,
an NHL player has died.
A few years ago...
Rick Rypien died.
Wade Belak died.
Derek Boogaard died.
It was an incredibly sad time
for the NHL as a whole.
I mean, to lose three young players,
two of whom were still playing.
I fought two of 'em.
I've had three or four fights
with Wade Belak.
I fought Derek Boogaard twice.
And y'know, being two guys
that are in my role, y'know...
it really hit home for me.
They're my brothers in hockey
and brothers as enforcers too.
It's a sad thing.
They were all tough guys.
And the natural, kneejerk instinct is
"Well, they were fighting
and they died..."
"They must have died from fighting."
It certainly was horrible.
It was unfortunate.
And anyone who said it was
just a coincidence got derided.
Oh, you're an ostrich in the
sand, burying your head.
You have to wake up to the realities...
that now this role has a body count.
A lot of people...
Especially in the media,
they wanna tie
personal problems to the game.
He's a hockey player.
"So everything the hockey player does...
must be tied to hockey."
If a player is
playing in professional hockey
for 10-20 years,
they're gonna go through a
whole run of other experiences
that don't relate to the sport.
The tendency is to say that
all the problems were caused by the fact
that they were an enforcer.
Or that they fought in hockey.
Whereas it completely
ignores the fact that
they have a whole life
outside of hockey.
They have a family, they have tragedies,
they have all these other
elements that are going on.
You've gotta be pretty nave to think
there's not an alcohol and drug problem
in any professional sport.
I mean a lot of guys get
hooked on painkillers,
sleeping pills, anxiety stuff.
There's a whole lot of things
that guys have issues with.
I think everybody has...
in their own personal lives,
has had someone close to them
or someone they know
suffer from addiction
in some way, shape or form
regardless of where you come from.
It doesn't discriminate against
who you are or what you do.
Millions of people deal with
mental illness and drug addiction
that are not enforcers.
So it's not really
that, y'know, strange to think
that within our small community
of enforcers,
there's people that don't
deal with it as well.
"Live hard, play hard."
That was the mentality
back when I was...
You could drink as many beers
as you can the night before
and make sure you show up
to practice the next day
and that was the mentality.
And I just thought I was living...
The "pro" life.
Goin' to parties, have a good time,
doin' some drugs
and that's where it would end.
But now I'm 26, 27 years old
and I'm grabbing as much
cocaine as I can
with as much booze as I can,
I'm turnin' my phone off and
I'm lockin' myself in a room.
27-year-old kid, living my dream.
I'm at the top of my profession
...I can't look at myself in the mirror
when I'm brushing my teeth
in the morning
because I'm disgusted with
where drugs and alcohol took me.
It took me to a very, very dark place.
I wasn't drinkin' and
druggin' because of fighting.
That had nothin' to do with it.
I was drinking and drugging because
I was an alcoholic and a drug addict
and I had a problem with it
When I took drugs and alcohol,
they hit me completely different
than it hit somebody else
and it had nothing to do with fighting.
When I cleaned up in Phoenix,
I went and lived in a
sober living home for 2 months.
And I decided I wanted to play again.
It's... closin' in on seven years now.
There's not a day goes by where I...
I never let myself forget where I was
and where drugs and alcohol can take me.
You have all these
contradictory thoughts...
And it... it exists in a spectrum.
It isn't ever that black and white...
media portrayals of enforcers.
You'll run the gamut
and you'll try to look for
this thread of, like...
"What is an enforcer?"
And like any other label,
it never tells the whole story.
Every single person is different.
It isn't a case of saying whether
fighting is good or fighting is bad
or whether enforcers are goons
or whether enforcers are
thoughtful gentlemen.
It's such a massive issue to understand.
And what the media likes to do
is to sort of, put a spin on it
and make it this very simple thing
that - if we outlaw fighting,
then there'll be no problem
with the sport at all.
And the reality is that
there are other issues
that need to be resolved
that are perhaps bigger than enforcers
and bigger than the problem
of fighting in hockey.
You have now, more so than ever...
A real idea of how dangerous
this game can be...
and what the long-term effects are.
Every sport right now...
Is looking at concussions
differently than they used to.
Whether it's baseball
or football or soccer.
Soccer has tons and tons of concussions.
What that means is
they're finally being reported.
Being a player,
particularly an enforcer,
over those last ten years
has been um... a pretty strange ride
with all of the evidence, um,
that's coming out
about the dangers...
and then obviously how...
slanted all these views get
in dealing with sports.
And then particularly enforcing
and fighting in the NHL.
Everybody loves these combative stances
and there's always this
kind of, "butting of heads"
and these black and white issues
and there's obviously much,
much more to the story.
A concussion is a brain injury.
When I went to medical school,
it wasn't really considered
a brain injury,
it was considered
something rather trivial.
The biomechanical injury
that causes concussion
is rotational acceleration.
If my left hand is the skull,
and my right hand is the brain...
The jiggle of the brain within the skull
is what we think of as
rotational acceleration.
And it's that jiggle that
causes the brain damage.
Concussions can lead
to permanent brain degeneration.
When that happens,
we call it "C.T.E."
Which stands for...
There's where we see...
Significant memory decline,
Real major personality change.
If you just were a casual
observer of, y'know, "sports"
and just would pick up
on different things
that were being discussed
in the media about hockey,
you would probably think 95%
of concussions came from fights.
The statistics on
fighting as a cause of
concussion in hockey
show that it's one of the
smaller causes.
Probably about 5%...
The reality is that
the vast majority of concussions
come from, y'know, hits.
It's... almost creating
a situation where
you're blinded to the reality
by focussing in on such
a small percentage.
With fighting, it's something we
certainly have to address
and be cognizant of
but you're possibly doing a disservice
to the other, y'know, huge
percentage of concussions
that are happening in hockey.
It's easy to isolate
when a guy gets hurt in a fight
because, look, there's a punch,
it hit him in the head and he went down.
But if you talk to doctors -
I was talking to one a while ago
and she said,
"You hockey guys have it all backwards."
I said, "What are you talking about?"
She said, "I treat more people
that have concussions
from getting hit in the stomach
than they do getting hit in the head."
Because all that has to
happen is your body has to jar
and your brain has to hit your skull.
Let's say my knuckles are their chests
knock together and their heads,
which are my thumbs,
don't receive any direct blow at all
and yet both of them may
fall down concussed.
And that is because
of the "whiplash effect" on the brain.
You go back to 2005
when the game opened up
and it was the fly-zone NHL.
Blue line to blue line.
Guys are movin' faster, uh, than ever.
Defensemen can't hold up
forecheckers anymore.
Defensemen are getting
their faces plastered
up against the glass.
And we all say, "This is great! -
"Look how fast they're going!"
We seem to have equated fast to good.
And that's fine, if that's
your thing, that's cool.
Because it got that much faster,
the body checks turned into collisions.
They weren't guys rubbing each other,
they were billiard balls,
smashing into one another.
And I always ask people this...
If you want the game
to be this fast, right?
30-35 miles an hour.
And you want guys going this quick
and you wanna make it
relatively... "safe,"
or as safe as you can possibly make it,
ask yourself how many concussions
you're comfortable with.
The force that you're
getting slammed into the boards... is...
Is like...
It's unimaginable for
a person that doesn't play
how hard you can actually
get hit by another human.
It's weird,
I don't know the number of fights I had
but the only three concussions I had
had nothing to do with fighting.
Kids, when you're playin' hockey
it's called "heads up."
Y' you never put your head -
That's painful to watch.
This is a game that's not gettin' slower
It goes faster and faster.
I had, probably 200-plus fights,
never with a concussion symptom ever.
I went in, in for a battle
in the corner,
and me n' another guy hit head on.
My head snapped back.
It was the first time I ever
had a concussion symptom.
It was from an innocent hit.
One of my last blows
I took, was an elbow.
It wasn't a huge bodycheck
It was just an elbow that
came around that caught me
and tweaked my TMJ and cracked my jaw
and now, there's a
concussion right there.
I remember talkin' to Brad May once.
I said, "Brad, what's the, what's
the hardest you've ever been hit?"
I was expecting something like,
Oh, I got in, y'know so-and-so
fight with this guy -
whether it was in junior or the,
or the NHL.
But he said, "The hardest I ever got hit
was when I mistakenly turned
into Mats Sundin's shoulder,
and Mats wasn't trying to hit me
but I just turned
and my jaw hit his shoulder."
And he was out.
He can't even remember
getting to the hospital.
He said, "I've been
in hundreds of fights,
...nothing hit me harder
than just bumping into
Mats Sundin's shoulder."
But - hockey fight's
the easy one, right?
It's just a lazy story.
"Fights make concussions."
The game makes concussions.
I think Sidney Crosby has had more...
concussions than I have
and I fight...
10 to 20 times a year.
So, I mean...
he's had more concussions than me.
We have a list of, uh...
About 40 NHLers for example.
Who have had to retire
because of concussions.
On that list,
the minority are enforcers.
So I don't think we can say yet...
Whether the enforcer is
particularly vulnerable
But certainly, they are vulnerable.
It's not limited to hockey.
We see obviously in football
the great problem that
we have with that.
And there's no fighting
in that element of the game.
But it's much harder to
look at a game where
the violence is sort of
spread throughout
and find fault with that
than it is to sort of look at hockey,
which is a classic scapegoat here,
because we're actually
saying, "It's the fight"...
when in reality... it's the contact.
It's the element of the sport.
The reason logic can't be used
is because it's money.
It's big, big business.
Otherwise the NFL
would have to stop playing.
The... tremendous strides
that they've been able to
produce better equipment
has caused a lot of this.
Some of the equipment
has really gone overboard.
For example, the elbow pads
and the shoulder pads.
You can go to fuckin' war
in those things.
You can launch yourself at full speed
and hit somebody in the head with 'em.
Shoulder pads have become
"knockout pads."
That's ridiculous.
Shoulder pads are meant
to protect the wearer,
not to knock out the opponent.
Yeah, sure, it's great
you're not getting hurt
y'know, from your neck down
but, y'know, the one thing
that you really can't protect...
is your head.
Go into the corner at...
y'know, 30 miles an hour
and aren't worried about
bracing themselves,
they just kinda throw
themselves cannonball-style
into somebody.
So it's this, uh.. kind of
counterintuitive argument
that the equipment has
actually gotten so good
that it's dangerous for players.
There's not the same amount
of stories written about,
"Why don't we change equipment?"
If they did look at it properly,
they would have already
got rid of the shoulder pads.
Because if you wore
the shoulder pads that
Chris Chelios or... myself,
Brendan Shanahan wore,
you'd never throw a body check again.
Because you're -
It hurts!
There's also that need
to get the player out
and playing again.
And that kind of tendency
to sort of push the player
to be ready.
And no hockey
player is ever gonna tell you
that they're not ready
because they want to be out there,
they want to be performing again.
That is where the most damage comes.
Is where you get one concussion...
And maybe not even
know that it's a concussion,
you just "get your bell rung"
but then, soon after,
and before you're recovered,
you get that second one.
Unless you do take the time
to allow recovery...
If you allow that vulnerable
brain to be hit again
It can cause catastrophic results.
For example, Sidney Crosby.
He was allowed to continue playing
after his first concussion
and then, when the
second one came along,
a couple of days later,
he was then out for a year.
In fact some people
thought he might never get back
but he did ultimately come back.
He was smart enough to stay away
until he was fully recovered
but that took a year in his case.
I'm not happy to be watchin' or
to be dealin' with this, but
I've got a pretty good idea
of things now
and know this is, not where I was before
so, that's, that's an encouraging part.
We can't see the physical,
and sort of psychological
aspects of a concussion
so it makes it sort of seem like
the person is just sort of wimping out
and isn't sort of, "tough
enough" to deal with the sport.
Whereas actually, we need to be
able to understand the injury
and the length of time
it takes to recover.
And I think they're doing that now.
These, these assessments now
for a player who is groggy,
who, who has taken a severe, um... hit.
Before, y' just... smelling salts
and you're back out there again.
the responsibility of the leagues
and the unions and the players
to... make these games
as safe as possible
but at the end of the day that's...
Exactly why they are... what they are.
They're contact and collision sports
where people have
the possibility of getting hurt.
We have discussions about
how we could eliminate
all concussions in hockey.
We are going to have
the risk of concussion.
We'll never get rid of all of them
but we have to minimize the risk.
One of the ways to save the game
is to get rid of the enforcers.
Every single rule change
comes with unintended consequences
and... that is a major,
major effect on the game.
If you... take out fighting,
you could be opening the game up for...
Those guys that run each other,
the guys that y'know, throw
their shoulders first into chins
and, uh, y'know, are willing
to take that 2, 5, 10 game ban
to knock out, y'know, the best
player on the other team.
One thing that I've always,
y'know, wondered.
If I handed the NHL rulebook
to a doctor,
and said, "Here, re-write this
so you'll be happy,"
what would the game look like?
I'm willin' to bet that
there was less concussions
in the '80s and '90s
than there are right now.
Now, certainly we know
there was less documented.
Because we didn't run at guys
the way they do.
We didn't...
We didn't run at Sidney Crosby
and Steven Stamkos.
The National Hockey League
took a dramatic turn in the fighting
that was taking place
when they, when they put
in the instigator rule.
Normally, if something happened
right there in front of you,
one of your teammates
would take care of business
right there on the spot.
What a chance! And another shot!
And Tarasenko is drilled
back of the goal by Clifford.
And Bortuzzo goes after him
...and here we go.
Usually they got five minutes
for fighting... either way.
No matter how many punches you threw
before th'other guy threw a punch.
It was usually a wash.
With the instigator rule,
if the ref deemed that you
threw the first punch illegally,
or you went in there
and you shouldn't have,
he would give you 'two for instigating,'
5 minutes for fighting and
a 10 minute misconduct.
Which puts you down for 17 but
your team down for an extra 2.
That's the difference between
winning and losing games
It was applied to the wrong person.
By that I mean,
If one of the opposition
runs one of my teammates
like Bob Clarke
and tries to drive his head
into the boards
and I...
Go over there... to try
and straighten him out,
I get the instigator.
Wouldn't ya think the guy
that just ran Bob Clarke,
tried to run'im through the boards,
is the instigator?
You could still run all these
players, y'know, into the boards
n'give 'em concussions, whatever!
But no one's allowed to retaliate.
And that, to me, was a mistake.
That's where fighting...
being tolerated...
but not encouraged and over-regulated...
it just conflicts with itself.
Staged fighting started to happen.
You wanna put rules in?
Well, you always find ways around rules.
Now you line up and... you
address it on a faceoff
because... you don't wanna
put your team down.
So I think fans and
the outsiders lookin' in
are all of a sudden, all up in arms
that there's all this staged fighting,
and it wasn't part of hockey,
but that was just... players and teams
working around the rules
they implemented.
Finesse player today
is getting hit a lot harder
because the guy hitting him
doesn't have to... answer
to anything that he's doing.
He can skate right by the bench and say,
I can do it all night
and there's nothin'
you can do to stop me
'cause if... you try to stop me,
it's 2-5-10, game,
you're gone and we have
a 7 minute powerplay.
There's gotta be a
huge appreciation for the fact
that we don't know what would happen
if there was no fighting.
And you can't just say
it would, y'know, keep a lot
more people safe.
What this, sort of,
new era of concussion research
affords all of the anti-fighting people
is now they have a context,
now they have a reason
as opposed to just their sensibilities
which is all it ever comes down to.
Is some people find it
distasteful and others don't.
And now the people that
find it distasteful
feel that they have a reason.
There's a poll that suggests
that 98% of NHL players
do not want fighting
to be taken out of the game.
And that's gonna be hugely important
for us to understand
because these players
are the ones, who
are involved in the game.
They're the ones who are consenting
to that level of violence
and they're the ones who
are making their living
and living their lives in that context.
Y'know, at what point do we say,
"We know you all agree with that
but we've decided
that we know better than you
and we're gonna take it
out of the game?"
And at what point do we actually say,
"No, you're the ones involved,
you know what you're doing."
It was either 3 or 4 years ago,
we recommended
not having fights on the
dropping of the puck, OK?
Because those tend to be
a little more staged
than the emotion of the moment
and it was the players
who resisted doing it.
We have to train humans
to look at systemic causes.
We have to train them
to look at the big picture.
If the problem with concussions
comes from a contact sport
we have to be trained to
look at the big picture
as well as the small picture.
The idea of fighting in hockey
really splits people.
You have these, sort of, two main camps
and the first one might be
rough, old school hockey
is all about a notion of
respect and honour
and the other side says actually
we don't need this anymore.
What we need now, is this
kind of more civilized manner
in which we can actually find other ways
that don't involve our fists.
But the trouble you're
going to have then
is... Which way you go?
Some games in today's NHL...
Can seem a bit "flat."
There were flat games
back 20, 30 years ago too.
But the game itself
feels different than it did.
You were always waiting for a spark,
you always knew it could come.
Where today...
If it fizzles out, you never
expect it to come back.
There's just something
that feels like it's missing.
Everything's changed.
It's just changed.
I truly believe that... the enforcers...
um, they're at their end.
They're at the end of...
their existence.
At this point I... have made peace
that my NHL career is probably over.
And by 'probably' I mean
almost for certain.
You kinda just saw the dominos falling
where, um, even a guy
like Brian McGrattan,
who played I think, 76 games last year,
played 7 or 8 games
and then... got sent down.
Why did you make the choice to retire?
Uhhhm..that choice was
made for me, actually...
I tried to play, uh, this past season.
I wasn't really, gonna go
and... play in the minors again
'cause I didn't really wanna... hafta...
go back all through the cycle
again and fight everybody
who was lookin' to make
a name for themself.
Brian Burke, who himself said
when he put Colton Orr on waivers -
what was it, one or two seasons ago...
He said there's just no place
for guys like Colton anymore
and that's a shame
because the rats are gonna
start takin' over the game.
Maybe it's just a rant
that the game is goin' in
a direction I don't like,
but... I'm troubled by this.
When a, a player with the
character of Colton Orr,
when he can't contribute in this league,
then I'm not sure I like
the way it's goin'.
In 2005, when the game opened up
and it became the fly-zone NHL,
in a lotta ways,
that was the beginning of the end
uh, for the traditional enforcer.
Now, when teams need to roll 4 lines
and have four effective lines
that can do a lot of different things,
you can't afford the roster spot.
They're playing
younger guys who can skate
who can check, who can grind.
If the enforcers, they can't do that,
they're not gonna be
on the team anymore.
I understand... the people
that are against it.
The people that think that
hockey fighters are dinosaurs
and that, fighting has no place
in the modern game.
I disagree with them,
but at least I understand why
they think the way they think.
I hope people,
if they don't agree with it...
That don't respect it,
can they at least understand it?
To me, the story of the enforcers
is extremely, profoundly, important.
I have never seen
anything that so encapsulated
the us-versus-them mentality
complete with all of its violence
and all of its virtues.
It was a dangerous role
and it was a hard way to make a living.
And it was a lot of sleepless nights...
And it was a lot of self-medicating...
And it was terror and it was pain
and these guys - did it.
I wish it was out more
because I've seen it in the press,
and in the papers and on the news,
on highlights
for the last 25-30 years
of us just being dummies
that shouldn't be in the game.
And I think there's some things said,
by people outta the game
that have really hurt very
deeply some of these guys.
I think their story needs to be heard.
They might look
at it in a different light...
"Would I be willing to do that
to fulfill my dream?"
And they might
look at themselves and say,
"Hey, that's...
..maybe that is, there is
some honour in that."
100% unequivocal dedication...
And willingness
to sacrifice yourself, um...
for, for the people you care
about, I mean....
How does that not...
How does that not...
resonate right here?
Kid growin' up in New York City,
bein' the first N'Yorker ever to play
for the New York Rangers.
20,000 people, y'know, cheerin' for you,
yellin' your name,
sayin', "We want Nick."
When I got there, they
never got pushed around again
and that's one of the promises
I made as a kid
sayin' if I ever played
for the New York Rangers,
they would never get pushed around.
They dream about playing
in the National Hockey League.
They dream about
playing... with the best.
And I don't think we should
take that dream away from them.
I had a chance for...
15 years of wakin' up every morning
and uh, like... bouncin' out of bed
and tryin' to figure out
a way to be better
and quicker and faster.
It's allowed me to win the Stanley Cup.
I mean, there's...
There's nothin' better.
I mean, I never thought that.
Playin', I was always
the one tryin' to... keep up.
I had visualized and just
imagined and dreamt.
And just hoped beyond hope
that one day I would be able
to lift the Stanley Cup.
You watch it so many
times on TV growin' up.
It's something that you
wanna do so badly that,
when you're doing it,
you're still kind of like,
not sure if it's real.
It's almost like a dream in a sense.
It's like... My name's on there.
That's unbelievable to be able to say.
It's got Dave Semenko on that cup.
That's never gonna go anywhere.
It doesn't have, in brackets, "Fighter"
or "enforcer" or "goon"
or anything like that.
Would I give up two Stanley Cups
to play on a team that never won
and I was a 50-goal scorer?
I don't think so.
900 games, 4,124 penalty minutes,
248 fights...
192 in the National Hockey League
Two Stanley Cup rings...
and the penalty record.
What more could I want?
That's kinda the beauty of...
Y'know, chasing a dream
and living a dream
and actually saying that you got
to do something that you love
from 4 or 5 years old.
That normal people don't get to do.
I have guys, 5 years after I'm done
that still call me and ask me
how I'm doin'.
That goes a long way with me.
I didn't know 'em.
I didn't know them personally.
I didn't grow up with 'em.
But I get calls.
How you doin' man?
How ya been?
Do you remember the times when I
was in the locker room with 'em
either bleedin' or laughin'
or cryin', whatever.
That's what makes it all worth it.
If someone told me if you go out
and you fight 200-plus times,
and you're gonna be beat up
your shoulder's gonna
be... surgically repaired,
you're gonna... break your nose,
your knuckles...
But in the end of the day,
you're gonna play a game in the NHL...
Wouldn't do it any other way.
...Wouldn't change a thing.
I got to play
in the NHL for... ten years.
And that's pretty cool...
For me.
Looking back now,
I always try and look back
and I don't know if I can do it again
because it's been long...
it's been a long road.
But the fighting side, like, the role,
the enforcer role again,
the side that I took on when I
first started playing pro...
100% I'd do that again.
I would definitely do it all again.
I loved it.
A hundred percent.
Hell yeah I would.
I would do my job tomorrow
if I was able to.
If I could turn back time,
I'd put the skates on right now and go.
I'd do it.
I loved it.
There's things you regret
and there's mistakes you made
but on a whole...
I would...
Most certainly do it the
exact same way I've done it.
If you could,
would you do it all over again?
With a little more fire.