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The "code" (or the "codes"?)

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  • J.P. Martel
    There is currently a trial for events that took place in a QMJHL game last year. The accused was a minor at the time of the events and so his name can t be
    Message 1 of 8 , Jul 7, 2009
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      There is currently a trial for events that took place in a QMJHL game last year. The accused was a minor at the time of the events and so his name can't be disclosed, so I won't give it.

      I usually stay away from debates on this forum about violence in hockey, but this time I can't help it. The twist that the defense is giving to what happened is just fascinating.

      The accused "cross-checked" the victim three times on the chest, while other players were "roughing it up". Clearly the accused wanted to start a fight, but the victim didn't want to. The fourth cross-check was to the mouth. This cross-check to the mouth is obviously what has taken the accused to court.

      Now, the defense has brought in two "experts" to testify that the victim had "broken the code" when the accused cross-checked him on the chest. If the victim didn't want to fight, they both said, then he should not have stayed there and faced the accused. Instead, he should have turned away and looked in another direction rather than face the accused. "It is not taught. It's a kind of code." had said another witness, also for the defense, last Friday (it was the assistant-coach for the team of the accused).

      This same assistant-coach also said that the cross-check to the mouth could be attributed to the "ambiguity" caused by the new rule that punishes more harshly the instigator of a fight. Thanks to this new rule, the witness said, players now try to instigate fights without dropping their gloves.

      So if the rule says you shouldn't instigate a fight, then you cross-check the other guy in the mouth instead. Just give me a minute here to figure this one out.

      Note that the Crown is suggesting that the victim stayed there because he was trying to draw a penalty for cross-checking for the accused. One of the "experts" said: "it's a possibility".

      Alright. Back to the "code". Let me reiterate what the "experts" said: "If the victim didn't want to fight, then he should not have stayed there and faced the accused. Instead, he should have turned away and looked in another direction."

      Now, let me go back to William Underwood's post #47011 in this forum, from Dec. 24, 2004, regarding the Bertuzzi-Moore incident:

      "I remember a kid who had his nose badly broken asking me "what did I do wrong"...And I told him two basic rules...one NEVER turn your back in the man and two NEVER assume he isn't going to hit you."

      So we have a few options here. One is that Bill doesn't know the "code", at least not the "right one". After all, everybody says it's not written, and stuff often gets lost in oral tradition. But I doubt it. After all, I just checked on the internet, and many people have written that Steve Moore should have never turned his back on Todd Bertuzzi.

      It is also possible that the NHL "code" is the opposite of the QMJHL code. After all, in one league, players make millions, and in the other they make peanuts. So if one thing like salaries can be so completely different, then maybe so can the "code"?

      Another possibility is that the "code" is incredibly subtle. For example, the victim in the QMJHL incident should have turned, but not turned his back, just turned sideways, and not stared at the accused, but not stopped watching him either. He should have just sort of kept him in the corner of his eye, to see if he was coming, but without staring. Of course, that could have also made it look like the accused had succeeded in intimidating him, which the "code" frowns upon I'm sure, but then if you don't want to fight, then don't be surprised to be perceived as a coward.

      However, I'm somewhat more tempted by a fourth possibility. It's starting to feel to me like the "code" is just a convenience to justify any kind of violence. Since it is not written and, apparently, not taught, then no matter what sort of violent action you're guilty of, you can always claim that you had no choice because of "the code", or at least the version or interpretation of it that you claim to be familiar with.

      Any thoughts?

      J.-Patrice
    • Leslee47@aol.com
      Interesting that this is coming up just after the sentencing of a certain Mississauga rugby player/OHLer/NHL draftee, who killed a fellow player after a rugby
      Message 2 of 8 , Jul 7, 2009
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        Interesting that this is coming up just after the sentencing of a certain
        Mississauga rugby player/OHLer/NHL draftee, who killed a fellow player after
        a rugby game two years ago. His defence was its all in the game. Judge
        said no way, which was correct, given that the kid bragged about piledriving
        the victim before he knew that the other kid was dieing. There was hope that
        a statement would be made when the judge convicted him of manslaughter,
        but then the judge gave the kid probation--unbelievable for a manslaughter
        conviction. Needless to say, everyone here in Mississauga is furious. Had the
        kid not been a hockey player just drafted by an NLH team 10 days ago, he
        most likely would have spent some time in jail. Instead he gets a year
        probation, community service, and anger management thereapy. Plus he can have a
        hockey career, while the other kid is dead and his family distraught and
        not sleeping. It's disgusting. The comments to this story in the Globe and
        Mail were so vile, the paper had to remove them all. Now the hockey team
        that drafted the kid is saying that this whole thing has been blown out of
        proportion and it was all just an unfortunate accident.

        Now this incident in the Q. I assume the trial you are talking about is of
        the son who charged another netminder last year. I did not know that his
        father's coaching staff is involved in pretending that this kind of assault
        is part of the game. Did he not go all the way down the ice and attack the
        other kid? That is an assault on or off the ice. Its one thing for two
        guys to agree to go; its quite another to go all the way down the ice and
        attack someone. However, of course, because of who he is, this kid will get
        special treatment. He should go to jail, but he may not even get convicted.

        As someone who believes that fighting should be in the game, I am appalled
        by what I am seeing and hearing. Hockey does have a Code; but this incident
        and the Bertuzzi/Moore beating are outside the Code. To pretend otherwise
        threatens the game as we know it. If this keeps up, fighting will be gone
        from the game. Which in my mind will be a shame.


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Leslee47@aol.com
        Just to add another incident to this. Just last week, the former Victoria Salmon Kings enforcer, Robin Gomez, was acquitted for sucker punching one of the
        Message 3 of 8 , Jul 7, 2009
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          Just to add another incident to this. Just last week, the former Victoria
          Salmon Kings enforcer, Robin Gomez, was acquitted for sucker punching one
          of the Ferraro brothers in a game two seasons ago. Facts are a little
          different in that one, but the outcome is putting another nail in the fighting
          coffin. Here is a link to the story:
          _http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2009/07/02/bc-robin-gomez-not-guilty.html_
          (http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2009/07/02/bc-robin-gomez-not-guilty.html)

          Leslie


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • J.P. Martel
          ... No, this is a different case. In fact, the partial visor has been partly blamed for this by the defense (I didn t entirely figure that one out, but got the
          Message 4 of 8 , Jul 7, 2009
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            > --- In hockhist@yahoogroups.com, Leslee47@... wrote:
            > I assume the trial you are talking about is of the son
            > who charged another netminder last year.

            No, this is a different case.

            In fact, the partial visor has been partly blamed for this
            by the defense (I didn't entirely figure that one out, but got
            the impression that the defense was saying that a full-face
            visor would have protected the victim).

            So the victim was not a hockey goalie (and neither was the
            accused).

            J.-Patrice
          • pkingtom@aol.com
            I have to take issue with some of the statements made on this subject. First, the defendant s defence was not its all in the game. His defense was it was in
            Message 5 of 8 , Jul 7, 2009
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              I have to take issue with some of the statements made on this subject.

              First, the defendant's defence was not "its all in the game." His defense
              was it was in self defense. That the player who died from the incident
              actually had the defendant in a headlock first. And, not that it diminishes the
              act, but is has been reported that the deceased suffered a head injury
              (concussion) a week before the incident happened.

              The statements by witnesses were taken into account by the judge. Of course
              this was a tragedy and most likely an over-aggressive move on a sporting
              field. But It's hard to believe just because the defendant bragged he put a
              certain move on the deceased does not mean he intended to kill him. It can
              be viewed as an accident...one with repercussions.

              As far as the team that you mention as saying the situation has been "blown
              out of proportion," that has never been stated and is certainly not their
              belief.

              The defendant apologized to the family and also stated that the incident
              was the worst day of his life. Even the family of the deceased did not blame
              him for deliberately trying to hurt their son. It doesn't bring the
              deceased back, but there is remorse.

              The defendant still has to live with what happened for the rest of his
              life. I don't think it's "disgusting" that he gets to go on with his life.
              Should he serve 3 years or the rest of his life in prison for something no one
              would ever be able to prove was done with malice or intention?

              I'm not trying to defend the unfortunate circumstances that the defendant
              brought upon himself. But I am defending the team that you seemingly are
              trying to paint a bad light upon for sure, as well as correctly depict both
              sides of the story.

              Also, the NHL is not bigger than the court of law. I don't think the fact
              the player was drafted by an NHL team led to him receiving a lighter
              sentence.

              I do want to be careful to come off on any side of the incident because I
              certainly would not want to be in the shoes of the defendant (the burden of
              living with the incident for the rest of his life), related to someone who
              had this happen to them (because just like any other human I would want
              equal justice to be served), or the judge who would have to decide someone's
              fate in a situation like this.

              Tom


              In a message dated 7/7/2009 4:08:29 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
              Leslee47@... writes:


              Interesting that this is coming up just after the sentencing of a certain
              Mississauga rugby player/OHLer/Mississauga rugby player/OHLer/<WBR>NHL
              draftee, w
              a rugby game two years ago. His defence was its all in the game. Judge
              said no way, which was correct, given that the kid bragged about
              piledriving
              the victim before he knew that the other kid was dieing. There was hope
              that
              a statement would be made when the judge convicted him of manslaughter,
              but then the judge gave the kid probation--unbelievbut then the judge gave
              conviction. Needless to say, everyone here in Mississauga is furious. Had
              the
              kid not been a hockey player just drafted by an NLH team 10 days ago, he
              most likely would have spent some time in jail. Instead he gets a year
              probation, community service, and anger management thereapy. Plus he can
              have a
              hockey career, while the other kid is dead and his family distraught and
              not sleeping. It's disgusting. The comments to this story in the Globe and
              Mail were so vile, the paper had to remove them all. Now the hockey team
              that drafted the kid is saying that this whole thing has been blown out of
              proportion and it was all just an unfortunate accident.

              **************Looking for love this summer? Find it now on AOL Personals.
              (http://personals.aol.com/?ncid=emlcntuslove00000003)


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • William Underwood
              Well I think I know the code as well as anyone having played the game, and having scouted it for 25 plus years and as well as having been a coach.and I played
              Message 6 of 8 , Jul 8, 2009
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                Well I think I know the code as well as anyone having played the game, and
                having scouted it for 25 plus years and as well as having been a coach.and I
                played at the rough and tumble senior level! :-)You can try to ignore a
                challenge but you do so at your own risk. There is no one version of "the
                code". It can be interpreted many ways and remember we are talking about a
                witness that was helping to defend a player in court hence since there is no
                written code you will err or interpret it in his favor. No one can nail him
                for perjury! Also the code can ever vary league to league. In some places
                and hockey cultures you do indeed skate away, such as Europe.



                My personal view of the code is.you never run away if anyone is challenging
                you and if you are going to fight you drop the stick and gloves to do so and
                NEVER using the stick. You don't cheap shot, no eye gouges, hair pulling,
                sucker punches, fish hooking, and once the guy is down you ease off. You
                don't beat up on non fighters unless they were a clear aggressor or really
                did something to REALLY deserve it like a spear. You don't take on a really
                smaller player again unless he is the clear aggressor. And if you want
                respect you don't take crap. Crap is not a hook or even an accidental high
                stick, but a spear, butt end skate kicking sure are and if a guy does that
                he should answer for it! Now of you draw the call you let it go and let the
                guys coach settle up with him, if not, you have to do something about it or
                he will do it again.



                Now to the meat of the issue.you don't just face a challenger you have to
                respond to him! If you do not face the challenge you take a gamble that
                since you sort of have broken the code by not responding (see above), the
                other guy might also break it in a nasty manner as we here when the stick
                was used. You run a risk as to what may happen if you violate the norm. So I
                stick to my advice. But there is more to it than just facing the guy. You
                have to react to what he is doing. A simple rule of thumb is if you don't
                really want to go don't close to punching range. You circle, keep just out
                of range and jaw with him. Now the code says "you don't use your stick." The
                code was actually broken by the use of the stick and in hockey we have major
                penalties and expulsions for that reinforcing that notion, ditto for any use
                of protective equipment. You are supposed to challenge by other means. Of
                course if your opponent does not drop their stick it is hard for you to drop
                yours to challenge. Still you are never supposed to USE the stick in that
                sort of manner, it is a cheap shot. So what do you do if he is getting
                chippy with the stick? Does it mean that the code is out and you can walk
                away? No, you do so at your own risk. The code also says that you respond
                and defend yourself, not by using the stick, you can shove back or, like I
                said, remain at a distance and jaw etc until the linesmen gets there or you
                get help. You don't just stand there and say "thank you sir may I have
                another." You tell him "if you want to go, drop the stick you wuss" in much
                more colorful and offensive language. :-) If you don't do that you either
                can hurt like this kid did or you end up retaliating and ending up in
                trouble too and maybe even STILL getting hurt so the only real things to do
                are to back off that hair, not running away or turning away but not allowing
                him to nail you or fight him!.



                Now they brought up a good point in the case, he may have been trying to
                goad the guy into a penalty. There are many tactics for that but no matter
                how you do it, you have to face the consequences and maybe take some punches
                or a stick.so the rule of thumb is simple "don't be stupid about how you do
                this.t can be painful"



                Add on the next point, a guy who just skates away loses the respect of
                everyone, other players, coaches, fans.. Unless he is a GREAT finesse player
                he loses face and even if he is a great player, if he stirred the pot to
                start it he will have little respect held for him. And if there is no
                respect held for you the rink gets to be a more dangerous place. Every cheap
                shot artist out there will feel like he can get away with that little extra
                as will even every plain old physical player. Plus no player wants to be a
                pariah. To say "just skate away" is to expect hockey players to assume a
                persona that is just not a likely one. No one wants to look like a sissy or
                coward. And think of this kid, all of his buddies involved in scraps, is he
                likely to want to be the "guy that skated away"? NOT realistic!



                In the end it is less about the ":code", more about "common sense". Fact
                one, you have an individual confronting you in a place where it is accepted
                at least to some degree to fight. Fact two , that person has a stick in
                their hand. Fact three, you really don't know exactly what is going through
                their head if anything is indeed at that moment aside form adrenalin. Fact
                four, running away is not really an option.this where the code really comes
                into play.you can get away with not dropping the gloves with no loss of face
                but not responding is a major loss of honor. You can't just skate away you
                have to react...even if it is jawing. So you have to at least stand up a
                little bit. Here is where common sense takes over. You NEVER stay close
                enough for something like this to happen unless you are ready to do
                something--defend yourself. ALWAYS assume the worst and either drop the
                gloves or back off a few feet facing him while talking to him so you know
                where he is and what he is doing, until help arrives in the form of the
                friendly neighborhood goon or the officials. You can stall that way but if
                you let him get in close you had better be planning on going with him
                because he may go with you or without you. The code doesn't let you run but
                it also doesn't mean that you have to be stupid.



                I came to my conclusions years ago as guys that I have seen get hurt badly
                in these things 99.9 % are not the guys who respond but those who don't. I
                have seen guys get major facial injuries because they stuck close and
                assumed nothing would happen. And then we have Brashear and Moore.in extreme
                cases. This is hockey and in ANY league there is a lot of testosterone out
                there. Even in college games I see guys get challenged and while no coach
                wants to see an extra penalty none want to see a shrinking violet which is
                why I hear NCAA coaches that I know say with pride over recruits, "he is a
                tough kid" even though no fights are expected, physical involvement and a
                lack of fear is expected. So even in the NCAA there is a degree of honor
                involved and not wanting to look "chicken".



                In the final analysis, was the expert witness dead wrong? No. the kid didn't
                have to drop the gloves and could have left the scene in the code, but what
                the witness left out was "only after he had stood up and the cavalry had
                arrived". It smells to me like he was either trying to draw a call and got
                burnt or was trying to make a stand ala the code but not really wanting to
                fight. Either way he didn't handle the situation well. And it does smell a
                LOT of the former, after all he was cross checked THREE TIMES, was there
                really any doubt as to what was happening? He wanted that instigator call.
                And after THREE cross checks the smart man says "the hell with trying to
                draw the call, I have it now or I don't, it is time to either back off until
                help gets here or lose the gloves and drop this turkey before he hits me
                again". And if it was the latter, he simply didn't want to fight you have
                options. You back off a bit still but facing him as he is challenging you
                with his stick. You can even raise your stick a little from a few feet off.
                You lose no face as you can say "that so and so was using the stick, if he
                wanted to fight he should have dropped his gloves" Of course he will say "I
                wanted to go but he didn't drop the gloves" and both of you would
                technically would be right! But the extremes of running away or standing
                there like a tin soldier taking high cross checks are BOTH bad moves.the
                first is unrealistic the second is dumb! There is an in between. Now in this
                case there may have been help coming as there was a general melee so there
                is another option.go and fight a defensive fight. You don't actually turtle
                but you do your best to wrestle then take him to the ice and cover up as
                well as you can not allowing him to land any real blows. Turning away as our
                "expert" suggests may have done no good, he may just go at you with a cross
                check from behind or maybe even a sucker punch.I have seen them happen too.



                The bottom line is never ASSUME you won't get hurt in a confrontation,
                because it makes an ASS out of U and ME. :-) The advice that I give is from
                decades of watching, playing and working in hockey and having seen guys get
                hurt trying to just walk away or figuring "he won't go any farther and will
                give up so I'll just stand here.' And my experience is that few North
                American hockey players will just walk away code or no code.



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Leslee47@aol.com
                Tom, I understand that you disagree, but a rebuttal here regarding the Mississauga case. First, the defendant did say it was self-defense, but that it was all
                Message 7 of 8 , Jul 8, 2009
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                  Tom,

                  I understand that you disagree, but a rebuttal here regarding the
                  Mississauga case.

                  First, the defendant did say it was self-defense, but that it was all in
                  the game of rugby, that it is a physical game and that what he did was not
                  different than what others do; that the victim consented to the violence in
                  the game. Read the transcript of the trial and you will see.

                  Second, the report that the victim received a concussion in the weeks
                  before was not true. It came out that someone planted this story, not sure who,
                  but it is not true.

                  "Most likely an over-aggressive move on a sporting field" Are you joking?
                  Most likely? I have spoken to the ref personally. The judge ruled very
                  strongly on this issue. Although no one ever said that the perpetrator intended
                  to kill the victim (and I don't believe anyone thinks that to be the case),
                  but he definitely intended to injure him. If you kill a guy when you
                  "only" intended to injure him, that is manslaughter, which is what this guy was
                  convicted of.

                  "Can be viewed as an accident..one with repercussions"?? Yes, the victim
                  accidently died after being piledriven into the ground. But the action
                  itself was not an accident, it was intentional. Just ask the judge. And any
                  person that volitionally commits an act is reponsible for the consequences of
                  the act. But the act itself is not an accident.

                  Further, although you say the team has never said it was blown out of
                  proportion, that was exactly what was said to me, so I don't know how you can
                  honestly say "that has never been stated and is certainly not their
                  belief."

                  Finally, you ask "Should he serve 3 years or the rest of his life in
                  prison for something no one
                  would ever be able to prove was done with malice or intention?" Are you
                  joking here too? duh, that was what the whole trial was about--the Crown
                  proving that the act was done with malice and intetion. The judge decided that
                  when the perpetrator was convicted of manslaughter.

                  I am not trying to malign the NHL team or the judge; just presenting the
                  truth as I know it from the court proceedings and from people I have
                  personally spoken to.

                  Leslie




                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • reorgman
                  The OHL player in question was drafted by the Islanders. The player granted an interview to Chris Botta - the blogmaster of www.islanderspointblank.com on
                  Message 8 of 8 , Jul 12, 2009
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                    The OHL player in question was drafted by the Islanders. The player granted an interview to Chris Botta - the blogmaster of www.islanderspointblank.com on the interet - link provided.

                    The player is attending Islanders minicamp now on Long Island.

                    Good reporting by Chris, worth checking out.

                    Pat


                    http://www.islanderspointblank.com/2009/07/cc/

                    --- In hockhist@yahoogroups.com, Leslee47@... wrote:
                    >
                    > Tom,
                    >
                    > I understand that you disagree, but a rebuttal here regarding the
                    > Mississauga case.
                    >
                    > First, the defendant did say it was self-defense, but that it was all in
                    > the game of rugby, that it is a physical game and that what he did was not
                    > different than what others do; that the victim consented to the violence in
                    > the game. Read the transcript of the trial and you will see.
                    >
                    > Second, the report that the victim received a concussion in the weeks
                    > before was not true. It came out that someone planted this story, not sure who,
                    > but it is not true.
                    >
                    > "Most likely an over-aggressive move on a sporting field" Are you joking?
                    > Most likely? I have spoken to the ref personally. The judge ruled very
                    > strongly on this issue. Although no one ever said that the perpetrator intended
                    > to kill the victim (and I don't believe anyone thinks that to be the case),
                    > but he definitely intended to injure him. If you kill a guy when you
                    > "only" intended to injure him, that is manslaughter, which is what this guy was
                    > convicted of.
                    >
                    > "Can be viewed as an accident..one with repercussions"?? Yes, the victim
                    > accidently died after being piledriven into the ground. But the action
                    > itself was not an accident, it was intentional. Just ask the judge. And any
                    > person that volitionally commits an act is reponsible for the consequences of
                    > the act. But the act itself is not an accident.
                    >
                    > Further, although you say the team has never said it was blown out of
                    > proportion, that was exactly what was said to me, so I don't know how you can
                    > honestly say "that has never been stated and is certainly not their
                    > belief."
                    >
                    > Finally, you ask "Should he serve 3 years or the rest of his life in
                    > prison for something no one
                    > would ever be able to prove was done with malice or intention?" Are you
                    > joking here too? duh, that was what the whole trial was about--the Crown
                    > proving that the act was done with malice and intetion. The judge decided that
                    > when the perpetrator was convicted of manslaughter.
                    >
                    > I am not trying to malign the NHL team or the judge; just presenting the
                    > truth as I know it from the court proceedings and from people I have
                    > personally spoken to.
                    >
                    > Leslie
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    >
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