HOW HOCKEY HAS REDUCED VIOLENCE. In 2013 I posted with approval here about how hockey was taking into consideration the severity of a victim’s injury in assessing suspensions for dangerous plays and here about how hockey was trying to change the risk-reward ratio for “big hits”. Dillon Baker had an article in the Wall Street Journal (March 3) with the headline “Professional Hockey Has Become a Gentleman’s Game”. Enforcing the rules more strictly has led to fewer power plays. Power plays from penalties are down to the lowest rate since the 1968-69 season. Baker lists eleven categories of penalties that a player could commit on another player (elbowing, roughing, slashing….). For three of the categories this year’s rate of penalties is the second lowest since 2001-02. For seven of the categories, the rate is the lowest since 2001-02.
Baker says that with increasing use of advanced analytics which show the importance of puck possession, there are fewer players on rosters who are “enforcers”.