1974 Canada/Soviet Summit
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01-30-2013, 08:14 AM
Join Date: Jul 2010
It depends on many things. It depends on the moral constitution of the player. Its very difficult to get 20 or so players in one dressing room with the same moral compass. However, it also depends on the moral constitution of the coach. If John Brophy was coaching that Canadian team, I would assume his goals for the team would have been much different. And the players act, for the most part, according to what the coach communicates to them verbally and non-verbally. This issue will likely rear its ugly head in the Bertuzzi/Moore/Crawford court proceedings in the coming year. I would also assume that many NHL teams have some sort of mission statement or guiding set of principals these days. Every corporation has them. Fred Shero had them, but I do not believe there was anything about sportsmanship. There was some messages about being responsible to your teammates I believe, but violence overall was much more accepted in society in those days. Often, what happens on the ice, in the schoolyards or in the family depends on what the attitudes are about an issue at a mega level - society, nation, political - partly at an unconscious level. That is, unless someone like Billy Harris brings particular attention to it and decides on alternative action. Sports in general has made some exceptional progress over the last few years. While we have seen the succeed at all costs attitudes of McGwire, Bonds and Armstrong, we have also seen many take the exact opposite approach. Recently there was a marathoner who was going to finish second in the race without a doubt when his opponent ahead of him misread where the finish line was. Instead of taking advantage of his opponents inability to read the language or notice the visual cues, he approached his opponent and redirected him to finish the race while he gracefully came in second. I am also positive that the suicide of Junior Seau is going to make huge waves in the football and sports world. Many have stated that sports is only a very brief time of their life and real life starts after a sports career. Seau could have still had 30-40 years of quality life to live had he decided to retire at a better time. Instead he suffered mostly in silence and now will miss his kids growing up, getting married etc...And then there is Mike Mussina. He decided to retire after a 20 win season just to be with his family more. He was only a few wins short of 300 which likely would have been his ticket to the HOF. As it stands now, he has a good chance, but is no shoe-in.
In summary though, most professional sports have dug in their heels when it comes time to address sportsmanship issues. The NHL is at the front of the pack in this area. Change often occurs at a grassroots level and moves upwards. Such is the case with many of Don Cherry's innovations to protect players. I believe he stated that the U.S. adopted his "stop sign" on the backs of jerseys at the amateur level long before the Canadian amateur system did. It is in our youth where sportsmanship is learned and crafted.
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