Ice Guardians- Fresh Look At Tough Position

My first job when I was a kid was being a concessions vendor at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Long Island, New York.  At that stadium the main tenant was the New York Islanders of the National Hockey League.  I remember getting there early and in awe of these massive white guys with mullets (this was the 90’s) skating around at break neck speeds and slamming each other on the glass boards.  The fans would make mincing gestures when it would happen.  They knew the toll it could take on the body.  Olympic-esque skating and slap shots the speed of a bullet made the crowds roar but the event in any hockey game that riled up the fans more than anything was the fight.  Most games there would be at least one fight and it normally was initiated by a player called the Enforcer.  He would be the protector of the team’s best players.  Ice Guardians, written by Brett Murphy and Scott Dodds and directed by Murphy is a unique look at one of the most controversial player positions in professional sports and where we have come and will go with them.

The movie has plenty of interviews from NHL players from the past and present.  Players such as Brian McGratton, Bobby Hull, Brett Gallant, Brett Hull, Kevin Westgarth and Clark Gillies to name a few give their insightful opinion of both the history of the Enforcer and what it mean to the game of hockey to have such a player.  The players by all accounts deem the position to be invaluable and praise is given to not only the physical attributes of the Enforcer but also their intelligence.  I was shocked when I was informed that two players,  George Parros and Kevin Westgarth were Princeton graduates that decided to forego lucrative careers in other fields to become Enforcers in the NHL.  The documentary is informative like that.  It gives you insightful information that could persuade the anti-fighting crowd into rethinking their position.

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