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Major Misconduct - The Human Cost of Fighting in Hockey

Major Misconduct

The Human Cost of Fighting in Hockey

By Jeremy Allingham
Foreword by Daniel Carcillo
Categories: Social Issues, Health, Canada
Paperback : 9781551527710, 320 pages, 2019
Read Excerpt (PDF)


Every night in hockey arenas across Canada and the United States, modern-day gladiators drop their gloves and exchange bare-fisted blows to the bloodthirsty roars of the paying public. Tens of millions of people a year, including children, watch and cheer on the fighters. Some players are paid handsomely; others barely a living wage. But either way, these fighters are lauded, valued, and considered to be essential to the game. That is, until their playing days are over. Hockey enforcers spend their lives fighting on ice to protect their teammates and entertain their fans, but when their playing days are over, who's left to fight for them?

Major Misconduct scrutinizes a highly dangerous and controversial cultural practice. The book dives deep into the lives of three former hockey fighters who, years after their playing days ended, are still struggling with the pain and suffering that comes from bare-knuckle boxing on ice. All of these men believe they may be living with the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy. They may have had their shot at pro hockey glory, but none of them is rich or famous, and the game has left them with injuries and trauma. They have experienced estrangement, mental health issues, addiction, and brushes with the law. And they've stared death in the face.

The debate surrounding fighting in hockey is hotly contested on both sides. This daring and revelatory book explores the lives of those who bare-knuckle boxed on ice for a living and investigates the human cost we're willing to tolerate in the name of hockey fighting.

Includes a foreword by Daniel Carcillo, a former NHL player who won two Stanley Cups with the Chicago Black Hawks in 2013 and 2015. After retiring, he created Chapter 5, a non-profit organization that assists former NHL players who are suffering from post-concussion syndrome and mental health issues.


Jeremy's book is a raw yet tender hockey confessional told by players whose lives have been thrown to the sporting wolves. These are voices that exist on the margin but deserve to be pushed into the centre. Written with great clarity of heart, Major Misconduct is an easy trip into a new kind of hockey writing. -Dave Bidini, author of Keon and Me: My Search for the Lost Soul of the Leafs

Interesting, disturbing but, above all, an essential read for those of you who care about hockey. -Ian Hanomansing, co-host of CBC Television's The National

Like many of the damaged warriors portrayed within, Major Misconduct is a hockey book that doesn't back down. In this integral book that all hockey fans should read, Allingham is brave enough to finally challenge the sacred cow that is fighting in hockey. -Grant Lawrence, CBC personality and author of The Lonely End of the Rink

Every Canadian and every hockey fan around the world should read this book. Allingham brings his stylish prose and reporter's eye for detail to bear on what should rank as one of our worst sports scandals. Highly recommended. -Vancouver Sun

A compelling read from first word to last, Major Misconduct tells the too-often ominous personal histories of hockey's gladiators and the culture of violence that forms the dark underside of an elegant and exhilarating sport.
-Gabor Mate, MD, author of In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction

Major Misconduct is filled with real-life stories that I relate to. This moving and thoughtful book provides further proof that there’s no need for bare-knuckle fighting in the game. There has been too much loss and pain because of it. Hockey will be at its greatest once fighting is gone. -Jim Thomson, former NHL player and enforcer