I recently watched a documentary on Netflix titled Ice Guardians. The film consists of interviews with a variety of previous and current NHL and AHL players and their position in hockey as enforcers.
An enforcer in hockey refers to a player who is ready and willing to fight a player on the opposing team whenever necessary. For example, if an enforcer’s teammate is the victim of a cheap shot or an overlooked penalty, it is the enforcer’s responsibility to interfere and demonstrate their willingness to protect their teammate regardless of the risk or danger they place themselves in by doing so.
The film showed an entirely alternate perspective towards fighting in hockey, one I had never contemplated prior to watching it. Many of the previous and current hockey enforcers interviewed in the film discussed that if it were not for the protection they provide for their teammates, all-star players would not be able to perform to the same extent they do now. They explained how fear can tremendously influence a player’s skill on the ice, and that by emphasizing their loyalty to their teammates, the enforcers serve as a reassurance to other players on the ice and permit them to skate without hesitation.
The film further touched upon the divide that exists between opinions towards fighting in hockey. Some support it, some do not, but a majority of professional hockey players are, in fact, in support of fighting. Granted, the players in the film explained that there is an appropriate time for a fight during a game, rather than one breaking out every several minutes for no apparent reason. The enforcers interviewed in the documentary stressed their unwavering loyalty to their teammates and the need for their presence on the ice, however, they expressed their acknowledgment of the diminishment of their kind in the current NHL environment.
If you’re a hockey fan, I highly recommend watching this film. Regardless of your opinion of fighting in hockey, Ice Guardians offers a truly interesting approach to the topic.
Photo on <a href=”https://visualhunt.com/re/6d3676″>Visual hunt</a>