Hockey and Canada will always go together – they are intrinsically linked in peoples’ heads. Canada has long been a champion of the sport, and is universally known as the home of hockey, but it also has its share of controversy.
Hockey is one of the most entertaining and fast-paced sports imaginable. For gambling, it is also one of the best for live betting and in-play markets that are available at a number of sportsbook betting companies.
Below, we dive into some of the controversial moments from the history of the sport, including some scandals.
Alan Eagleson embezzlement scandal
Eagleson was a man with a lot of contacts, serving as a player agent for years and brokering some huge deals, including those for Bobby Orr. He was a well-known face throughout the industry but was eventually found to be embezzling money and even stealing from pensions.
He had been a member of the Hall of Fame, but had to step down, and eventually served 18 months in prison. Those he worked with have largely distanced themselves from Eagleson, and while hockey did experience growth in some areas partially due to him, the crimes he committed will be remembered for a long time. He’s only been seen publicly a handful of times since he was found guilty.
The enforcer role
In general, the enforcer role in hockey has been met with some criticism, and has gradually declined in the world of hockey.
There was some controversy when in 2011, multiple enforcers died, including Wade Belak, and the deaths were possibly linked to the head trauma and possible brain damage that they may have incurred in years of fighting. The NHL had to oversee some rule changes and is still in the process of protecting players more as there is a backlash regarding the perception of the enforcer role. It is a part of the history of the sport but it is not surprising that this is at least being toned down.
Brad Marchand kissing and licking players
This is one of the stranger controversies we’ve seen in the history of hockey.
Brad Marchand has a history of showing teammates some affection in the form of a kiss. However, after trading blows with Komarov during a game, Marchand decided to lick his face.
“I thought he wanted to cuddle. I just wanted to get close to him. He keeps trying to get close to me. I do not know if he got a thing for me or what. He’s cute, ”said Marchand in a strange interview.
While the NHL refuted reports that they contacted him after, they would eventually intervene when he went on to lick Ryan Callahan during a confrontation. Marchand said this was a response to being hit by his opponent. The NHL then, not surprisingly, confirmed they would be asking him to stop.
Prince Albert Raiders’ controversial third jersey
In 2021, the Prince Albert Raiders were shown to have had a third jersey from seasons past, which had a distasteful logo on it. This caused social media outrage and some questions for the WHL team to answer.
The image in question did not reflect well on people from the Middle East. The Raiders had to release a statement in apology, but this is not the first time they had been caught in hot water, as their Raider mascot had been deemed offensive by some.
The NHL has had multiple lockouts in its time.
In 2012, there was a dispute between the National Hockey League (NHL) and the National Hockey League Players’ Association, as the NHL proposed to reduce the share of revenue that would be paid to players, and set maximum lengths on the contracts of players . They would also seek to change the signing bonuses in an attempt to claw money away from the players. This resulted in a lack of a contractual agreement and eventually, games were canceled as a result. An agreement was struck in January, but by that time the season had been shortened from 82 to 48 games, and millions of dollars in revenue had been lost.
Like most sports, hockey has had its share of controversy, and the history of the NHL is fascinating once you start to look into its dramatic and controversial moments. Who knows what the future holds for hockey in Canada and beyond.