NHL Discipline Getting Better

League disciplinarian Colin Campbell will be stepping down after this year. In doing so, the torch is expected to be passed to former player Brendan Shanahan.

In the 13 years of league disciplinarian, Campbell has taken many criticism from fans. At times he has been viewed as too tough, others not tough at all. The reality however, is that his position was set-up to be scrutinized, ultimately to fail.

The current disciplinarian system is a one man decision, influenced by one’s perspective. On top of this, the decision is based on a set of rules that at times, does not address the action to be later disciplined. Also, the U.S. believes in “justice is blind”, yet it is evident that the current discipline does take into account who the offender is. Factor all these together and you have what we have today, a broken system.

With a new face in Brendan Shanahan, the league intends on changing the position entirely. Although the details have not been laid out, the league does expect to crack down on players.

“If we are going to move to harsher discipline, that change needs to send a clear message and we think it would probably be best to do on a clean slate.” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in regards to Campbell stepping down.

Shanahan will have his hands full in the off-season. He is already handling the department of player safety. The two roles will overlap though, with player safety developing rules to better protect players without changing the fundamental nature of the game, the disciplinarian position will be to enforce the rules to protect the players.

Look to next season to be more consistent than years past. This is in part with the leaving of Campbell, but more so, having the rules in place to be enforced. The game evolves, as does the rules. Not many fans will morn Campbell stepping down, but as a fan and as a rational person, a lot of respect should be shown towards Campbell for doing the best that he could do in a tough, tough position.

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