A radical proposal from a concussion symposium this summer left us wondering as training camps open: What would the NHL look like if you removed body contact from the game? It sounds drastic, but when former bruiser and Hall-of-Famer Eric Lindros is proposing it as perhaps the only way to protect players in the long term, it’s worth considering. After all, there’s no hitting in women’s hockey, and that game has given us some true classics in recent years.
But could you ever hope to sell that approach to millions of fans raised on Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em hockey and thousands of players trained to pride themselves on toughness? Even if it produced a cleaner product on the ice? Postmedia’s national hockey writer Michael Traikos attended the symposium, spoke to Lindros and is about to embark on another year covering a game that will see dozens of players laid low by brain injuries during the coming season. So, we asked him: Does it have to be this way?