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Fair Play Principles in Hockey: Illusion or Reality?

Fair play is defined as much more than only playing within the rules. It includes the concepts of friendship, respect for others, and compulsory observance of moral standards. Fair play is defined as a worldview, not just a way of behaving. This includes issues related to eliminating deception, trickery, doping, violence, sexual harassment, abuse, exploitation, unequal opportunities, over-commercialization, and corruption. Can we say that hokey athletes correspond to these principles? Let’s find out.

What Is a “Fair Play” Concept?

The concept of fair play emerged in the world of sports in 1963, and a year later the International Fair Play Committee was created, which included representatives of UNESCO, journalists from the International Sports Press Association, and leaders of major Federations. The principles of fair play include respect for the opponent, the rules, the referees and their decisions, the absence of doping, self-control, and promote equal chances of winning for all participants in the competition. These are the foundations of sports, which deny victory at any cost and prioritize moral and ethical principles.
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In ice hockey, not only players are subjects of the concept. There are also separate codes of conduct for coaches, officials, parents, and administrators. All these documents aimed at creating a productive and friendly environment for everyone, in which every participant involved can feel safe.

There are many examples of decent conduct in sports. According to statistics, the majority of cases were recorded in football and the least in hockey.

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         The Owners of the Fair Play Award in Hockey

Since the first inaugural of the award in 1965, there have been a few cases when it was granted to hockey players or other people involved. In 1984, the Canadian women’s team was given a trophy for its decent attitude towards competitors. During the World Cup, the Austrian team didn’t appear on time due to schedule misreading. So, the victory had to be automatically granted to Canadians. However, the girls decided to wait for the opponents and play the game.¬†

Another Canadian Wayne Gretzky received the trophy for his career in 2003. He is famous not only for dominating the Canadian Hockey League but for some achievements in sports and real life:

  1. He managed to win 4 Stanley Cups, 10 Art Ross Trophies as NHL’s leading scorer and became 8-times First All-Star Team Member;
  2. During his career, he gained fifth place among the greatest athletes in North America;
  3. He led the Canadian team to the victory for the first time in 50 years in the 2002 Olympic Games;

 

Wayne Gretzky was actively involved in charity. Having created his own foundation, we helped disadvantaged young people who wanted to play hockey. Soon he became an honorary member of the Board of Trustees of Olympic Aid. Perhaps, he is the best example of a hockey sportsman, whose career fully corresponds to the fair play principles.

In Conclusion

Many athletes prove year after year that fair competition is more than medals and trophies, especially when large sums of money are at stake. Refraining from taking advantage of the “gift of fate” is probably very difficult. We often take such actions for granted, forgetting about what an athlete’s life consists of and how long he has to go through to get a chance to participate at a major hockey cup.

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