The Human Cost of Fighting in Hockey
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.
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