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Old
02-26-2014, 12:45 PM
  #1
chapel
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Ask an enforcer / goon

Hi. I'm Jared and I'm a retired enforcer.
I grew up in the 80s and 90s being an enforcer was an integral part of hockey, even in the youth leagues.
As the largest player in my age division every year, I had a physical advantage over every player. At my biggest in the mid 90s, I would have been the largest player in the NHL.
I come from a family of hockey players. My father has been a ref, player and coach for almost 40 years, my brother was a player, ref and coach and I was a ref for 10 years while also playing.
As a larger player, I tended to get picked on for my size. So, I used that energy and turned it into goon energy. Now, I was not always trying to be a goon, I was mostly an enforcer with goon-like tendencies. I had lots of issues where opposing players would attempt to fight me to prove something and I’d just drop them. I was in a LOT of fights and I was good at it. I was also good at being a problem in front of the net. I was merciless with people near my goalie. As a referee, I also knew what I could get away with and when and how to be more aggressive and physical than what may be considered necessary.
I was also a practice coach who would teach Peewees and Bantams how to properly body check. I also worked as a trainer with the All American Defense Camp (does that still exist?) where I thought how to be a physical player.
I was also a boxer for 10 years and would teach hockey players how to fight on ice.
Now as an older player playing in no-contact leagues, I’ve had to learn how to play a less physical game (though if you know any contact leagues for older guys in Massachusetts, let me know). I figured my years of experience could be beneficial to those who are currently playing in full contact hockey.
Perhaps you’d like to know some tips and tricks to being an effective enforcer? How to be a physical force on your team and shut down your lane whenever you’re on the ice (making players afraid to touch the puck when they’re near you). Maybe you want to learn how to avoid goons and their behaviour? Or maybe you want to know some of the slimier things things that old school goons would do?
While I always encourage fair play, there’s always going to be goons out there and it might be good to know what to look for, what to avoid and where that line of enforcer and goon lays.
I have lots of good goon stories and experiences both as a player, official and coach. I’d also spent a good amount of time with Terry O’Reilly as a kid (which probably explains a lot). In fact, one of the reasons my dad stopped playing hockey was because of something Terry did to him in a charity game… because even as an old man, Terry was still a goon.
So, have at it.

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02-26-2014, 01:13 PM
  #2
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as a retired pest/agitator i have been punched in the face by your ilk many times and have respect for that job.

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02-26-2014, 01:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chapel View Post
Hi. I'm Jared and I'm a retired enforcer.
I grew up in the 80s and 90s being an enforcer was an integral part of hockey, even in the youth leagues.
As the largest player in my age division every year, I had a physical advantage over every player. At my biggest in the mid 90s, I would have been the largest player in the NHL.
I come from a family of hockey players. My father has been a ref, player and coach for almost 40 years, my brother was a player, ref and coach and I was a ref for 10 years while also playing.
As a larger player, I tended to get picked on for my size. So, I used that energy and turned it into goon energy. Now, I was not always trying to be a goon, I was mostly an enforcer with goon-like tendencies. I had lots of issues where opposing players would attempt to fight me to prove something and I’d just drop them. I was in a LOT of fights and I was good at it. I was also good at being a problem in front of the net. I was merciless with people near my goalie. As a referee, I also knew what I could get away with and when and how to be more aggressive and physical than what may be considered necessary.
I was also a practice coach who would teach Peewees and Bantams how to properly body check. I also worked as a trainer with the All American Defense Camp (does that still exist?) where I thought how to be a physical player.
I was also a boxer for 10 years and would teach hockey players how to fight on ice.
Now as an older player playing in no-contact leagues, I’ve had to learn how to play a less physical game (though if you know any contact leagues for older guys in Massachusetts, let me know). I figured my years of experience could be beneficial to those who are currently playing in full contact hockey.
Perhaps you’d like to know some tips and tricks to being an effective enforcer? How to be a physical force on your team and shut down your lane whenever you’re on the ice (making players afraid to touch the puck when they’re near you). Maybe you want to learn how to avoid goons and their behaviour? Or maybe you want to know some of the slimier things things that old school goons would do?
While I always encourage fair play, there’s always going to be goons out there and it might be good to know what to look for, what to avoid and where that line of enforcer and goon lays.
I have lots of good goon stories and experiences both as a player, official and coach. I’d also spent a good amount of time with Terry O’Reilly as a kid (which probably explains a lot). In fact, one of the reasons my dad stopped playing hockey was because of something Terry did to him in a charity game… because even as an old man, Terry was still a goon.
So, have at it.
I am bigger than you; and undefeated, though I have never started a fight, but finished a few, not just on ice. I just want to play the game. Always seems to be clowns wanting to try and prove something, like how dumb they are maybe? The older I get, the less tolerant I am of clowns though.

I do remember once giving someone a little bump, inconsequential; and the guy turning and slashing me across the side of the head. Didn't do any damage and I presumed the ref would turf him. Ended up in the box as well as the other guy and couldn't believe it. Told the ref he had made a mistake and got turfed and thought f it, you don't whack someone around the head with a stick and get the last laugh. Hauled the other dude out of the box and started unloading on him. Next thing his mother was on me with her handbag flailing away. That was an afternoon to remember and I didn't get to play for a while after that. But it was worth it.

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Old
02-27-2014, 08:55 PM
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One of the goonier things I did:

I prefer my Easton H4799 aluminum sticks... the nice thing about them is they're indestructible. They're also hollow and can hold things inside. Things like lead shot and sand...
So, we built what we called our 'strength training stick'
We put some leadshot and sand in it and capped it off so the fill wouldn't move around. We would couple this with a machined stainless steel hockey puck and use it to strengthen our shots in practice... officially.

UNOFFICIALLY... we would use it during game time as the "Goon stick". The extra weight allowed you to give some 'shin taps' in front of the net that looked like little love taps but felt like taking a 10lb sledge to the leg. And, if you could hold onto the stick, a slapshot would be a monster killer (especially if someone tried to interfere with your shot.) They also made short work of early composite hockey sticks... shattered em like twigs.

the drawback was that it shattered it's own blades like they were going out of style.

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02-27-2014, 09:17 PM
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I have another question. Why would you be an enforcer/goon when you play in a non competitive league ?

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02-27-2014, 09:49 PM
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define 'non-competitive'?
I do not 'enforce' or 'goon it up' in beer league. I haven't been a goon since I stopped playing in a league where score actually mattered.

I also would never feel comfortable gooning it up on a team where I don't personally know my entire team. A lot of my enforcement was in defense of my team mates and my goalie. In non-competitive beer-leagues, there's no goons out there to rough up or people being chippy, so I don't just go out and start crap because it's fun. That's the difference between being a goon and an enforcer. Goons just want to watch the world burn. Enforcers want to protect their team with their physicality and their aggressiveness.

To this day, I still am friends with my childhood goalie and I still do my best to protect him even in daily life

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02-27-2014, 10:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chapel View Post
define 'non-competitive'?
I do not 'enforce' or 'goon it up' in beer league. I haven't been a goon since I stopped playing in a league where score actually mattered.

I also would never feel comfortable gooning it up on a team where I don't personally know my entire team. A lot of my enforcement was in defense of my team mates and my goalie. In non-competitive beer-leagues, there's no goons out there to rough up or people being chippy, so I don't just go out and start crap because it's fun. That's the difference between being a goon and an enforcer. Goons just want to watch the world burn. Enforcers want to protect their team with their physicality and their aggressiveness.

To this day, I still am friends with my childhood goalie and I still do my best to protect him even in daily life
The bolded answered my question, thank you.

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02-27-2014, 10:59 PM
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yeah, no. I had some serious aggression issues when I was much younger... and I took them out on ice as an enforcer. I went from being an enforcer in hockey to a boxer for a few years and then I started to chill WAY out.
Though I still miss punching people in the mouth...

I've got a wife and kid now so I have a lot to lose. You can't just go starting fights at 32 years old and not spend a night in jail.

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03-03-2014, 05:41 AM
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The fact that you started this thread bothers me for some reason...

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03-03-2014, 07:05 AM
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I do have a question that pertains to checking hockey. How do I avoid getting clobbered when I am digging a puck out of the corner?

What would a goon do that would be illegal/borderline legal to such a victim?

Even though I play in a non-checking league there are a few guys who think it is OK to cheap shot.

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03-03-2014, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzykat View Post
I do have a question that pertains to checking hockey. How do I avoid getting clobbered when I am digging a puck out of the corner?

What would a goon do that would be illegal/borderline legal to such a victim?

Even though I play in a non-checking league there are a few guys who think it is OK to cheap shot.
stay close to the boards. if you're a foot or more away from the boards and someone hits you while youre digging for a puck its going to hurt... keep your feet planted too, if you're off balance when you get hit you're going down, no matter how big you are.

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03-03-2014, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Fanned On It View Post
The fact that you started this thread bothers me for some reason...
It could be because almost no one on these boards plays professional hockey so looking for advice from a goon/enforcer is not necessary.

The most annoying guys in beer league are the ones that think being a goon/enforcer/agitator is a needed on a recreational team.

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03-03-2014, 06:38 PM
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Can't say it bothers me. The guy has life experiences to tell from a standpoint that most pretend offends them, but most truly love. Reminds me of that Warren Zevon song about Buddy.

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03-03-2014, 10:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzykat View Post
I do have a question that pertains to checking hockey. How do I avoid getting clobbered when I am digging a puck out of the corner?

What would a goon do that would be illegal/borderline legal to such a victim?

Even though I play in a non-checking league there are a few guys who think it is OK to cheap shot.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nibbler View Post
stay close to the boards. if you're a foot or more away from the boards and someone hits you while youre digging for a puck its going to hurt... keep your feet planted too, if you're off balance when you get hit you're going down, no matter how big you are.
What he said. Don't give yourself much room to move. If you're hugging the boards there's not much anyone can do to hurt you... legally
ILLEGALLY, if you get a goon in tight on you, what you need to watch out for is his stick and where he's playing it. In a tight scramble, he could short spear you in the ribs. He could short chop you in the ankles with his stick while 'playing the puck'.
Cheap stick work is what happens in board tie ups...

What I do (which is basically what you should do in any play) is I force the opposing player off the puck (using my body) and work my feet to get the puck out and towards one of my players.

As a ref, I watch for stick work in this ALWAYS. I also watch for hand work. I've seen a guy PULL a guy off the boards with his and then check him back into the same boards. It was ingenious... and I gave him a 5 minute major for hitting from behind.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiTownHawks View Post
It could be because almost no one on these boards plays professional hockey so looking for advice from a goon/enforcer is not necessary.

The most annoying guys in beer league are the ones that think being a goon/enforcer/agitator is a needed on a recreational team.
My thought was that I could inform people of what to watch out for. And perhaps give some officials some ideas on what I've seen and done.

Perhaps someone could do a psych profile on it too

Quote:
Originally Posted by mistrhanky View Post
Can't say it bothers me. The guy has life experiences to tell from a standpoint that most pretend offends them, but most truly love. Reminds me of that Warren Zevon song about Buddy.
I still think there's no place for goons in Youth and Junior hockey... but there's always going to be. I definitely think there's NO room for it in rec play though... none. That said, if you have a goon in your rec league, have the league take action. If there's no leagues to take action... be ready to run the guy out of town as a whole.

One of the main reasons I don't goon it up anymore: liability.

I'm not going to jail for starting a fight in a senior rec league... and there's a good chance that there will if I throw down. I can't chance that. In fact, I've heard that same liability is now coming down through youth and junior leagues... (at least in regards to fighting).
As for other goon stuff, refs are supposed to be much stricter and USA Hockey goes Zero Tolerance on that kind of stuff.

So, if you want to have a career in hockey, don't be a goon

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03-03-2014, 11:55 PM
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Still got to protect yourself against any clowns.

Not in hockey, but I Know playing socially or with older ages in some other sports, because you get a different level of ages, physical condition and ability, people want to play at different levels of intensity. You can usually find someone on the other team that wants a bit more rough and tumble than some of the others.

In a rugby league for over 35 year olds, players can wear different coloured shorts depending on where they're at. A certain colour is fair game, another colour is limited in what contact you can put on them and another colour is non contact; still all playing on the same team and seems to work pretty well. Get some real old timers still going around and the more able guys can still find guys on the other team to mix it up with if so inclined.

How would that sort of thing translate to 'social' hockey?

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03-04-2014, 05:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Pacifist Goon View Post

In a rugby league for over 35 year olds, players can wear different coloured shorts depending on where they're at. A certain colour is fair game, another colour is limited in what contact you can put on them and another colour is non contact; still all playing on the same team and seems to work pretty well. Get some real old timers still going around and the more able guys can still find guys on the other team to mix it up with if so inclined.

How would that sort of thing translate to 'social' hockey?
I have team mates who can and are more physically minded. We mix it up a little. Whereas we don't come into contact with the 2 girls or the bambis on ice at at all. Just get to know your team mates and develop a play style with them. You can even talk about it before. For me it was sort of natural, I would initiate and they would give it back. It's a lot more fun than playing strictly non-contact.

Also, I find this thread useful because I can find out ways to protect myself. I like to play within the rules but if I think someone is going outside of them and getting away with it I need to figure out appropriate ways to deal with them.

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03-04-2014, 09:56 AM
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Chapel -- in your comments about board work. When you are looking to create that separation on the boards, how much hand work is permissible? I am pretty sure I cannot fully extend my arms or outright shove(as the higher leagues blatantly do), but can I use a forearm to drive them off and then put my body into that space? In other words, where is the line betwee legal and illegal there?

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03-04-2014, 11:12 AM
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It's kind of a gray area. The best way is to shoulder them out. You really aren't allowed to push with your arms that much if at all. Refs discretion. Using an outstretched hand can result in a holding call.

Though I do see some people get away with shoves, but that can get into a potential cross check if you don't drop a hand off the stick.

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03-04-2014, 11:13 AM
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Also, hip checking is a safe way to get in. Go in ass first with a little speed and you can force the puck out. Swing your ass like a hammer

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03-04-2014, 11:27 AM
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Basics

Quote:
Originally Posted by mistrhanky View Post
Chapel -- in your comments about board work. When you are looking to create that separation on the boards, how much hand work is permissible? I am pretty sure I cannot fully extend my arms or outright shove(as the higher leagues blatantly do), but can I use a forearm to drive them off and then put my body into that space? In other words, where is the line betwee legal and illegal there?
Three basic points.

1.) Learn to establish a security perimeter within your arm span. Hint passive positioning and use of elbows is the main trick. Basically your elbows should not be travelling as fast as you are but out there for protection if others run into them.

2.) Leverage. Centrifugal force applied to hockey. You do not need to shove. On arcs or straight lines simply an extended arm holding your stick, lightly on the opponents hip will force them wide enough to get the edge you seek. If they resist, remove your arm normally and see what happens.Do the same with your free hand and chances are you will get called for holding.

3.) Forearms. Effective if used properly. Cannot be moving faster than your body. Shiver will get you a penalty, either elbowing or roughing. Properly raised become part of your security perimeter. Learn how to roll the opponent with your forearm along the boards upon contact.

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03-04-2014, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by ChiTownHawks View Post
It could be because almost no one on these boards plays professional hockey so looking for advice from a goon/enforcer is not necessary.

The most annoying guys in beer league are the ones that think being a goon/enforcer/agitator is a needed on a recreational team.
To me, the most annoying guys are the ones that make it useful to have a brute on the team. Without the fear of someone giving you a taste of your own medicine, some people simply don't know how to draw the line between playing the game and ruining it.

Plenty of times I've told people, politely as if insane, that I'd (use your imagination) if they didn't cut the crap. I've also extended the offer to entire benches as well, in case they figured they'd do something about it. So they believe I'll do pretty much what I tell them if I have to, and the game continues on nicely. If I don't do that, who knows what kind of BS goes on for the remainder. All the little guys want to act tough against all the other little guys for no reason and nobody is ever tough enough to make the others know they'll be sorry. Overall that's good, but it should (almost?) NEVER have to even come to that.

If I'm acting like a jerk and a guy I know who is a boxer or something tells me he's going to whoop me if I don't cut it out, I'm not going to test him. But I'm a very passive guy and am extremely nice to the point of often letting people abuse me to comical measures before I give them any sort of physical response. I don't even want to do that, I just want to play. Some people just want to let out aggression and can't take it up skill-wise, I guess.

Anecdote about how passive I can be: I remember a big football player once wanted to fight me and I wanted nothing of it. I let him pop me at least half a dozen times in the face before I finally got sick of it and dropped him with one of my own

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03-07-2014, 02:02 PM
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Chapel And Canadien -- Thanks for the feedback. Definitely seems that a lot of this comes down to knowing the refs too. I would rather learn the right way, and legal way though as I have found you can usually do things the right way just as effectively as most people try to do it the shady way.

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03-07-2014, 03:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzykat View Post
I have team mates who can and are more physically minded. We mix it up a little. Whereas we don't come into contact with the 2 girls or the bambis on ice at at all. Just get to know your team mates and develop a play style with them. You can even talk about it before. For me it was sort of natural, I would initiate and they would give it back. It's a lot more fun than playing strictly non-contact.

Also, I find this thread useful because I can find out ways to protect myself. I like to play within the rules but if I think someone is going outside of them and getting away with it I need to figure out appropriate ways to deal with them.
Do I know this too well.

When we play rec, be it Roller or Ice, I usually invite people from different social groups. we all agree on a little physical play along the boards but not in the open. The thing is, since I'm usually the center of the invite, everybody knows me, so pretty much its open season on me, and seeing as I'm one of the better players(usually top 3 or top 5) I'm targeted by EVERYBODY. They get a big kick out of it.

However, I sometimes have to be the mediator for when a player from "group A" hits someone from "Group B" a little too hard, or they don't know the guy that well to know if done on purpose. Thats when it hits the fan.

But usually the different skill levels will know who they can hit and who they should take it easy on.

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03-07-2014, 09:18 PM
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mistrhanky View Post
Chapel And Canadien -- Thanks for the feedback. Definitely seems that a lot of this comes down to knowing the refs too. I would rather learn the right way, and legal way though as I have found you can usually do things the right way just as effectively as most people try to do it the shady way.
Well, there's ways to be an enforcer and stay totally legal. It's simply a matter of being as aggressive and physical as possible in the rules.
Kronwall is a perfect example. Guy is one of the cleaner guys out there but is just a devastating force of nature along the boards. He makes people think twice about touching the puck in his lane.
Hit them so hard and so often that your coverage area becomes an area of denial. An area of fear. Look at what Cam Neely did in his corner.

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04-18-2014, 07:44 PM
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chapel, do you have any videos of your scraps online?

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