Derek Boogaard: The Enforcer
Category: Required readings
Issue: Dangerous hockey fighting
I’m guessing most people didn’t really care about this article (well besides for Sam Cusick who I know is an avid hockey fan) in J202. However, this article really hit home to me. Why? Because over the course of my lifetime, I’ve been to well over 200 hockey games. Most of those were me nervously watching my little brother play. Basically, I grew up in a “hockey home.” When Boogaard was playing for the Juniors, I completely understood how competitive it was, since that was a dream of my brother’s (before he realized he should go to college and play club hockey instead).
Branch captivated me while reading this story. At first glance, I was annoyed when I saw how long it is. However, I couldn’t stop reading. His writing is engaging to the reader and tells all points of Boogard’s story. I also enjoyed the fact that Branch added multi-media to the story, with many pictures and even videos. I really came to understand Boogaard’s role as an enforcer and passion for hockey.
Branch brought bullying to the reader’s attention. When a reader who has been bullied can see that a famous person has been bullied, they too can connect with that person. But for those who have bullied, they may realize they need to stop because this person they are picking on may some day become successful. It’s amazing to see that such a big guy was bullied so much. You would think he would be the one who bullied others. Nonetheless, it’s important to understand anyone can get bullied and I think this article displays this idea perfectly.
In addition, this article brings out the dangers of hockey. As much as I LOVE to watch hockey, I’m always frightened that my little brother is going to get hurt. One time, a guy came up to him and punched him in the head. My brother is the goalie. Makes sense, right? Luckily, they changed the rules in Wisconsin high school hockey so that checking can not be as brutal. However, players on my brother’s team look up to these NHL players, who just are brutal. Boogaard was regarded as a hero, even though his main job was to beat up the other team’s members. Now as entertaining as that is (believe me, I love me some hockey fights), it’s becoming too dangerous. Refs just sit there and let the players fight, as I saw at my first professional hockey game this spring in Tampa. Doctors even think that Boogaard’s death may have had to do with how many injuries he had from hockey.
Although I believe Branch wrote Boogaard’s story beautifully and truthfully, I really do think Branch glorified hockey fighting in his article. For example, he wrote, “He scored only once in 61 games for Prince George in 2000-1. He recorded 245 penalty minutes, ranking eighth in the W.H.L. He was, finally, an enforcer, appreciated by one team, feared by all others.” Branch basically saying that it was okay that he could hit others, because he was an enforcer. Now, I do think checking and things are fine, but with brutal hits Boogaard would make, I do no think that should be allowed. I know that Branch was just writing the story of Boogaard’s struggles in life, and how he found his outlet in hockey. However, I feel as though through his writing he defended these hockey enforcers.