Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador bends the knee to goons by banning the post-game handshake

'You don’t penalize the civil majority who play by the rules in order to acquiesce to the savage minority who have no respect for the inherent etiquette of our national winter sport,' said David.

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Beyond hockey’s inherent excitement, scintillating speed, matchless grace, and awe-inducing physicality, there’s another cherished element to the best game you can name: the quiet chivalry of the post-game handshake.

Indeed, when that final game has been played, and a team is eliminated from the playoffs or a championship tilt, there is an understated beauty that unfolds when former combatants line up opposite one another while extending their hands and saying, "Good game."

In the NHL, the post-playoff series handshake is something you don’t see in the other major pro sports leagues. The losing players on baseball, basketball, and football teams typically make a beeline for the dressing room once that final whistle sounds.

Not hockey. And when the victors shake hands with the vanquished, what results is an act of good sportsmanship that is nothing short of endearing. Mere minutes ago, those very same players were plastering one and other into the boards in pursuit of the puck. 

But when that final buzzer sounds and a champion is declared, an armistice kicks in. Hostilities immediately cease. At this point, there’s no more bodychecking or fisticuffs or hooking or tripping or spearing or even swearing.

Rather, there’s just a respectful realization that the game has ended magnificently for one squad and, well, not-so-jolly for the other.

But make no mistake: there is absolutely no shame in honest defeat. Which is the very reason the losing players line up to shake hands with the victors in the first place.

I speak of this iconic act of on-ice chivalry because in Newfoundland the post-game handshake is now extinct.

I wish this was a Newfie joke; sadly it isn’t. And this imbecilic decision is getting worldwide attention for all the wrong reasons.

ESPN reports:

The hockey governing body in Newfoundland and Labrador has banned postgame handshakes in the minor leagues after a string of altercations. Hockey NL announced the move last week. Gonzo Bennett, chair of Hockey NL's minor council executive committee, wrote in a memo that the organization has had ‘issues’ following games that led to suspensions of both players and coaches.

Oh, it’s gonzo all right...

But what a disturbing message being conveyed by the hockey pucks running Newfoundland shinny.

Just because there’s a fringe minority of reprobates who are sore losers who have no respect for chivalry, then the solution is to jettison the post-game handshaking ritual?

Wrong. You don’t penalize the civil majority who play by the rules in order to acquiesce to the savage minority who have no respect for the inherent etiquette of our national winter sport.

NL Hockey had it right the first time: if you take a cheap shot during the post-game handshake, you get a suspension. I’d go further. If a pugilistic player does it again, he receives a multi-game suspension. If that hockey hooligan still can’t grasp the message that slugging someone in the post-game handshake process is offside, well then, it’s time for him to kiss the entire season goodbye.

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