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POLITICAL GOLF BALL
ONE MAN'S OPINION
Jacques Laperri�re was an outstanding defenseman with the Montreal Canadiens for 11 seasons. More recently he was coach of the Montreal Juniors in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Two weeks ago he quit.
"That's not my idea of hockey," he said after his team and the Sorel Black Hawks were penalized a total of 334 minutes. Previously, he had said, "Hockey is a physical game, and I played it that way. But violence? There is no room for violence. By telling kids to fight, to intimidate, to concentrate on stuff like that, we are doing an injustice. We are not teaching hockey. We are creating goons."
Three days before the Sorel game, Laperri�re's club had been in a similar brawl with Trois Rivi�res. "It started before the game," he said. "Some of their players told ours, 'Watch your heads tonight.' When the game started, the threats became real. When it got out of hand, I called my team off the ice. I had no intention of keeping them off. I just wanted the league to recognize a protest, to know how strongly I felt."
Laperri�re was fined $1,000 for that, even though his players had obeyed his precept of fighting "only to defend yourself." The donnybrook had been started by a rival player.
"It was clear who was the aggressor," Laperri�re said, "and the aggressor rule is automatic. He is supposed to be put out of the game. But the aggressor was given four minutes in penalties—two minors. That's why I made my protest."
Then came the Sorel game, and Laperri�re decided enough was enough. "The league is a good league," he declared, "and the rules are there to make the hockey good. But if other coaches and owners feel it can survive only with violence, then I want no part of it."