Doing this series on hockey fights inspired me to sit down and watch the movie Goon. As vulgar as it is, it is spot on at times in describing the “goon” culture. What really stuck out to me was when Doug Glatt, the main character if you have not seen the movie, is explaining to his parents that hockey isn’t just a hobbie.
“For once in my life I’m actually a part of something. I get to wear a uniform that doesn’t have security on it. Kids buy it and they wear it and it’s got our name on it. And for whatever reason you guys think I could be smart enough to be a doctor. I have fist smarts. I can fight. I’m strong, I can protect people. That’s what I am, that’s what I do and you should be proud of me.”
Talking to real players makes this quote even more authentic. I would recommend watching the movie to anyone old enough to watch it, it is pretty vulgar, it captures the essence of what a goon really is very well. These tough guys are really nice off the ice and they do what they do to protect their team mates.
In this installment I will be talking to Mark Louis of the Portland Pirates which is the AHL affiliate for the Phoenix Coyotes. He played in the WHL for juniors before moving up to the AHL. In the WHL he was in a total of 27 fights. In the two seasons he’s had in the AHL he has been in 19 fights, 11 of which were last season when he was tied for first on the team. This preseason he played some games for the Coyotes and got in 2 fights.
Here is what Mark had to say:
There has been a lot of controversy surrounding fighting in hockey lately, as a player who has been in numerous fights, what is the purpose of fighting in hockey?
The biggest thing is to keep respect on the ice. There are a lot of very good players that you have to watch out for on your team. If there is no fighting there is no honour out there, it’s just going to be a kind of runaway game. So I think that, for that reason, being part of the main foundation of why fighting should be in the game. It’s there to keep the honour in the game. I’ve played in leagues where there is no fighting, in the CIS, and it’s a different game. It’s funny the guys I played against in juniors that weren’t really tough guys were all of a sudden tough when there is no fighting. So it kind of changes the game around a bit but I think that it has to be in there to keep players honest.
If fighting was taken out of hockey how would that change the game?
Absolutely, there’s no question. There would be not as much respect out there. There would be guys being able to do whatever they want. It would definitely change the whole game completely.
Hitting causes the same amount if not more injuries than fighting, why do you think most of the negative attention is focused on fighting rather than hitting?
I think just the fact that it’s on display. Two guys square up and their fighting, the whole rink is watching it, all the TV cameras are watching it and it’s center stage. Then someone gets hurt no one is going to miss it , everyone is going to see it, the whole rink and also on TV. With big hits it’s split second decisions, the games moving so fast they just happen, it’s part of the game too. I don’t think there is as big an emphasis on the hitting as much as fighting.
Do you think the George Parros incident will change any players’ stances on fighting?
It’s just one of those things, you hate to see it happen. 99 times out of 100 it’s not going to happen. It just happened that the guy lost his balance and he happened to pull down Parros who wasn’t expecting to be pulled down at that angle. So I think it’s obviously difficult to watch but at the same time it’s part of the game. I was an accident, you could tell right away with Colton Orr‘s expression he was worried for him. I think they fought each other like 7 times in their careers so obviously there is that mutual respect there and he felt bad. I don’t think it’s going to change anyone’s perspective on fighting, any players’ at least. It’s just an unfortunate accident that happened in the game.
Do you have a favourite fight?
I don’t really have a favourite. I get that question a lot. A lot of guys ask about fighting this and this guy and this guy but being someone that kind of mixes it up here and there it’s not something you really talk about. There is kind of a mutual respect between both guys. I wouldn’t say there’s a favourite fight it’s more of a respect all guys idea.
*Note* I just wanted to thank Mark again for answering my questions and Chris Knoblock for setting up the interview.