Wednesday, Sep 19, 2018
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Cheap shots from the ECHL


The East Coast Hockey League had an op­por­tu­nity to show fans and play­ers alike that the days of thug­gish goon­ery were gone for good from the game. The league failed.

After Kan­sas City for­ward Gar­rett Klotz at­tacked the Toledo Wall­eye’s A.J. Jenks in a re­cent game at Hun­ting­ton Center, many ex­pected he would be banned from the league.

VIDEO: ECHL suspends 2 in connection with brawl between Mavericks, Walleye

Hockey is a phys­i­cal, some­times even vi­o­lent game, but Mr. Klotz went well be­yond the bounds of a hit that might draw a ma­jor pen­alty.

After cross-check­ing Mr. Jenks to the ice, Mr. Klotz pro­ceeded to pound on his vic­tim with hockey stick in hand un­til other play­ers in­ter­vened.

As many noted af­ter the game, if he had done that any­where but on the ice, Mr. Klotz would be in a jail cell fac­ing as­sault charges.

To call the in­ci­dent a cheap shot does not do it justice.

And no justice is what fol­lowed when ECHL league of­fi­cials re­viewed the at­tack and handed down a pal­try eight-game sus­pen­sion for Kan­sas City’s thug.

At one time, mi­nor league hockey traded on sense­less vi­o­lence and stunts to fill the seats.

These days, the Wall­eye and other teams play a mod­ern game. Most fans show up to see a game that fea­tures speed, strat­egy, and skill, not brawls.

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The era of cheap thrills and cheap shots is well be­hind hockey. There is no ex­cuse for a league to turn a blind eye to vi­cious play, par­tic­u­larly if the league claims to take player safety se­ri­ously at all.

Toledo has built a first-rate fran­chise that plays in a first-rate arena be­fore first-rate fans, who ex­pect more.

The game has evolved beyond tol­er­ance for thug­gery. The ECHL should be ashamed of the cow­ardly way it pulled punches when it let an in­ex­cus­able goon off lightly.

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