As many of you are probably well aware Derek Boogaard along with his brother Aaron have started the Derek and Aaron Boogaard Fighting Camp. A camp solely designed to, like the name would suggest teach players the basics of how to fight in hockey. Not surprisingly this camp has come under heavy criticism with people claiming that this promotes fighting and encourages young players to fight. Boogaard obviously claims he is not encouraging kids to fight but rather teaching them how.
Regardless of weather or not Boogaard is encouraging children to fight in hockey I believe the camp is a good idea. Many of you may already be calling me a nutcase and assuming that I am some kind of crazed moron but let me explain. From my experience the large majority of player who are able to play junior or perhaps even higher will end up in a fight at least once in their career. Many of these players are not regular fighter, nor would they by any stretch of the imagination be considered “tough guys”. These players usually find themselves looking up at the ceiling lights before the fight has barely started. It is not uncommon for these players to sustain serious facial injuries or head injuries as a result. Had these players been trained how to fight the chances of these injuries would be greatly reduced.
Boogaard claims he will teach players how to defend themselves as well as punch. In hockey the only way to learn how to fight is to fight, which probably means getting your block knocked off a couple of times. By learning the basics of fighting before you actually fight greatly improves your chances of not only winning but more importantly not getting hurt. Many young player trying out for junior teams are, in an attempt to get noticed going to fight regardless of weather or not they know how, obviously they usually don’t do to well. Training these players in the basics of fighting would greatly increase their chances of winning, and impressing the coaching staff.
Despite what some may say it does take skill to be a fighter in hockey. And regardless of weather or not you agree with fighting in hockey you don’t want to be the one staring up at the ceiling fans, or worse once the fight is over. So perhaps instead of bashing Boogaard we should be praising him for helping to teach a somewhat forgotten skill to a many young aspiring hockey players.