By Abby Miller
Just days ago, Patrice Cormier, an ice hockey player in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) was suspended for the rest of the season for his hit to the head of Mickael Tam that left Tam convulsing on the ice afterwards. His suspension is just a slap on the wrists compared to former Canadian Junior League player, Michael Liambas. Liambas was banned from the Canadian Juniors for life after his illegal hit to Ben Fanelli.
This vast difference in punishments may come back to haunt the league and in spite of all the negative press this incident is getting in Canada, dirty hits may increase as a result of the weak punishment. Cormier’s hit on Tam was, in my opinion, 25 times worse than Liambas’ hit and many believe that the Liambas’ hit was made worse by Fanelli turning to avoid the blow. It’s clear from watching the hit that Cormier was going head-hunting and the first person he saw was Tam. Cormier does not even show remorse while Tam lay convulsing on the ice. Instead, he was mouthing off to the referee.
This hits and players like Cormier have absolutely no place in hockey. But they keep occurring more frequently, especially at the junior level. Hockey analysts are blaming players, coaches, and the systems that hockey coaches teach their players, but few are coming out and blaming the league for it. They are the ones that need to start the changes before incidents like this become a regular occurrence.