The damaged teeth and broken cheekbone suffered by Minnesota Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin on Wednesday are a product of the NHL’s disregard for player safety (“Brodin’s bad break puts onus on depth,” Oct. 24). Had Brodin been wearing a facemask, he would have been protected from the puck that struck his face.
Every season, NHL players are seriously injured from facial injuries caused from flying pucks, being checked face-first into the boards, high sticking, taking elbows to the face during checks, and fights.
Along with Brodin, Jason Pominville and former Wild player Pierre-Marc Bouchard recently suffered serious facial injuries and missed games because they were not wearing facemasks. The frequency and severity of NHL fights is another reason for requiring facemasks.
Hockey fans should remember the fate of players like Derek Boogaard. His life was essentially lost as a result of hockey fights and the pain medication needed to treat the resulting head trauma that he suffered. Boogaard would likely be alive today had facemasks been required during his playing days.
The NHL needs to do the right thing and act like a responsible employer by requiring facemasks for its players. If the league does not act, there are plenty of lawyers out there who are fully capable of bringing down the NHL with lawsuits that could dramatically alter the game — or end it altogether. Which is the worst fate?
Corby Pelto lives in Plymouth