Hockey’s culture in question after two fights go viral

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Two viral videos in two days – both showing hockey hotshots losing their cool.

The one includes longtime Sabres player Andrew Peters getting involved with a fight with a teen. Peters has since been suspended from his duties as head coach for the Junior Sabres 15-U team. The other video includes an ECC player, hitting a referee after receiving a penalty.

“Attitudes got out of hand,” said Thomas Savage, a Buffalo man who saw both videos. “He threw the referee to the ground.”

“I think there should be self control,” said Terrance Johnson, a hockey fan. “It’s about sportsmanship and sportsmanship is important.”

“There’s no need for fighting in hockey,” said Ray Fischer, a former hockey coach and a fan.

That’s something Peters agrees with, addressing the incident on his hockey sports talk show ‘The Instigators’.

“I want to say that first of all, there’s no room for what happened in youth sports,” said Peters about the incident, adding he can’t say much more; acknowledging emotions can get in the way during sames.

That’s something people say is obvious.

“It’s such an emotional sport,” said Fischer. “It’s a sport where there’s hitting; sticks involved; it’s fast.”

“A hockey player has to be quick-minded,” said Dr. Christopher Siuta, a sports psychology consultant. “Because of that fast pace, violence can occur.”

Dr. Siuta says it’s tough to turn off the competitive drive many hockey players have.

“It does stay with you and it intensifies over time.”

While the National Hockey League is working on phasing out fighting and cracking down on enforcers, the doctor thinks fighting will always be a part of hockey.

“I think it’s going to be a part of the game to a certain degree,” said Dr. Siuta. “Just based on the fast paced world of what they do out there.”

While fans think hockey has a bad reputation for breeding violence, the doctor says he thinks it creates toughness rather than violence.

“To be a hockey player, you have to have mental toughness about you and that carries over into a physical component,” said Dr. Siuta. “I wouldn’t say that we should be looking at these incidents as though that’s the culture of where we’ve become with hockey.”

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