When the game is over, the enforcer’s suffering has only just begun
When I started my career in the NHL with the Chicago Blackhawks, I was assigned the role of enforcer.
Every night, it was our job to protect our teammates from the opponent – no matter the cost to our own heads. Enforcers were rewarded with cheers and support from the fans, the general managers and our teammates in exchange for slugging it out game after game. We would wonder, sometimes, if we were hockey players or boxers.
The rewards did not last long. The altercations were brutal on our bodies, and I suffered at least 10 concussions from fighting. Probably many more. After some fights, I went to the wrong penalty box, only to be treated by doctors or trainers who asked me to name the President of the United States, provided a few aspirin, and sent me right back into the game.