U.S. vs Canada Ice Hockey Tour of Australia

Perth, Sydney, Melbourne and, next Saturday, Brisbane will play host to five match international ice hockey (two matches are to be held in Perth). The Canadian and U.S teams will be on display to give Australian audiences a taste of what they are missing.

With the Winter Olympic hockey final between the two great rivals being described as, ‘State of Origin on steroids’ Outrageous Sports decided to illustrate a comparison between the two sports.

Rule changes to rugby league are making the game more like South American soccer. Taking dives, milking penalties, and faking injuries for a free substitution are now an accepted part of the game. The no-punch rule has put player aggression on the same level as school girls pulling each other’s hair.

Contrast this with ice hockey:

Zenon Konopka. Photo: www.senstown.com

Zenon Konopka. Photo: www.senstown.com

Enforcer and Captain of the U.S. side Zenon Konopka (or as we at Outrageous Sports like to call him: Mr Konopka) has had his nose broken 14 times, endured more than 600 stitches being put in his face, has shattered both hands and broken a shoulder from on-ice fights. During his 346 games Mr Konopka has attracted 1082 minutes in the sin bin. But he admits he wouldn’t change a thing.

Violence has a place in ice hockey. And while it is discouraged with penalties it is not rooted out entirely (as it is in rugby league). Hockey players know the consequences for their actions; if they choose to perform those actions anyway then they must face those consequences.

This allows a factor of physical intimidation (something rugby league used to have) and on-ice rivalries to emerge; something absolutely enthralling for fans of the game.

Whether the U.S. and Canadian teams will bring back the biff, something sorely lacking and lamented from Australian sports, remains to be seen. But audiences can be assured of high energy, dizzyingly fast, skilful action as some of the best hockey players in the world strut their stuff.

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