A New Twist to a Raging Debate
The startling piece in the latest edition of Maclean's magazine in which Mike Sanderson, the father of the late Don Sanderson, speaks his mind on the issue of fighting in hockey truly puts the godfather of fighting on skates, Don Cherry, in a desperate light.
While Cherry has insinuated that Mike Sanderson, despite the death of his 21-year-old son after a hockey fight while playing for the Whitby Dunlops, still supports the notion that fighting is an integral part of the sport, the elder Sanderson says that actually isn't true at all.
Even worse, he objects to Cherry's characterization of him as a friend and kindred spirit who was there at Don Sanderson's funeral in Port Perry, Ont and later pronounced to a national TV audience that Mike Sanderson is a "hockey guy" who understands the role of fighting in hockey.
“He said we sat there like we were buddies (at Donald’s funeral),” Sanderson says in the Maclean's article written by Charlie Gillis. “I’m, like, no we didn’t.”
While some have been accused of using the death of Don Sanderson to further the effort to ban fighting from hockey, Sanderson's father seems to feel he's the one who has been used by those who would see the practice continue. Mike Sanderson says he supports a regulation that would lead to automatic ejections for fighting.
"Helluva rule," he tells Maclean's.
It's a powerful piece, one that vividly illustrates the suffering of a father over the needless death of his son, and his frustration that the act of fighting that led to his son's death is still seen by so many as an indispensable part of the sport.
You'd think more would want to listen to a father who has lost so much. Actually listen, that is, and not just hear what they want to hear.