Marquette – 01/19/12 – Hockey is a fast paced, hard hitting contact sport; sometimes just like what life deals out to us. In a Tuesday night game between the Edmonton Oilers and the Columbus Blue Jackets, during pre-game warm up, Edmonton’s left winger, Taylor Hall, lost an edge while skating and fell into teammate Ladislav Smid. Hall and Smid both slid into the corner and Oiler teammate Corey Potter accidentally kicked Hall in the head when he tried to avoid his fallen teammates. Hall was treated and sustained 30 stitches as a result of accident and didn’t return to the game.
It didn’t take long for the rumor mill to begin speculating on all aspects of this incident from Hall being out of the team’s line up for the rest of the season, to the league needing to make helmets mandatory in pre-skates and all points in between. Several Oiler teammates commented after the game on their prior experiences with accidental pre-game injuries. Unfortunately, these freak occurrences occasionally happen. However, let’s not make mandatory rules that attempt to control and manage all elements of risk and fate from the game. There have been good improvement to the game of hockey that have reduced reoccurring injuries, like the movable goal post moorings which have drastically eliminated knee injuries from the previous generations when goal posts were solidly secured within the ice.
Let the game be the game and when frequent occurrences warrant serious considerations, address them as such.