Deviance in Hockey

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Violence in ice hockey has been an identifying staple in the sport since “the first hockey leagues formed in the mid-1880’s,” (Ice Hockey Origins, Growth and Changes in the Game). Since the modern era of hockey, and the creation of the Stanley Cup, hockey has been viewed as one of the most violent sports in western civilization. Clarence Campbell, former NHL President has even said that “[w]ithout violence, there would be no such thing as hockey,” (Coakley). To an extent hockey is unmatched in illegal assaults by any other sport, in both amateur and professional leagues, (Colburn). This does not mean that the contact in other sports is not as intense as hockey, for example rugby and football are both very “violent” sports, but this…show more content…
This institutionalization created a different atmosphere around the entire world of sport. Sports became something that men and women could participate in as well as small children. Because of this universalization of sport it began to attract the attention of everyone, rather than just the participants. With a new audience came a new set of views and interpretations of what sports were and most sports fit into this new set of norms, and if not they adapted to fit into them. Hockey, however, did not conform to these new norms. Violence, fistfights specifically, in hockey are viewed as deviant because; that very type of violence is statistically rare in institutionalized sports and it is harmful to individuals, the sport of hockey, and society as a whole. This violence also violates the norms that society has created for competitive sport. Because of these harms, the rarity of such violence in sports, and the violation of the norms, a negative societal reaction forms. One of the ways that an act can contract a deviant label is by its statistical rarity, (Bereska). Violence, such as the fistfights seen in hockey, is a statistical rarity. Statistical rarity in this sense means that the type of violence seen in hockey, and the volume that it is seen in hockey, is unheard of in any
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