Is George Parros unfit to be Head of the NHL's Department of Player Safety?
In light of a recent one-game suspension for Kyle Clifford of the Toronto Maple Leafs, a clip from December 26th, 2010 has surfaced and has been shared around the hockey community. In this clip, we see a still NHL-active George Parros in a short fight with the LA Kings, Kyle Clifford. Now, 12 years later George Parros has the final say on whether or not Kyle Clifford would get suspended for his hit on Ross Colton. This and many other reasons has led me to believe at this time George Parros is unfit to be in charge of player safety.
When playing hockey, whether you win or lose, at times it becomes impossible to not hold a grudge against opposing players. Whether as a result of a big hit or a player celebrating in an unsportsmanlike manner, grudges can be held for a very long time. For Geroge Parros, his NHL tenure ended quite recently, with his retirement coming after the 2013-2014 season. This means George Parros has played against a large number of players currently in the league, including superstars like SIdney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin. This connection to current NHL players could easily cause bias when dealing with suspensions against players he has played against. To take this one step further, George Parros who was a notable enforcer has fought against three active NHLers outside of Kyle Clifford. After the recent Kyle Clifford suspension, 3 of the 4 active players George Parros has fought have now served at least one suspension.
A role in player safety is also very ironic for George Parros as he was an NHL enforcer known for some questionable play. Since his retirement from the NHL, Parros hasn’t shown us any reason to believe he has changed, as he still advocates for violent hockey. This is evident due to his role in the clothing company, “Violent Gentlemen”. Violent Gentlemen is a hockey apparel company that, apparent by its name, supports the older violent traditions of hockey. Whether or not you believe hockey should go back to its more intense roots, it is pretty unbelievable for someone supporting these beliefs to be head of the NHL’s player safety.
Whatever your beliefs are on recent NHL suspensions, George Parros’ NHL history along with his role in the Violent Gentlemen clothing company should be enough to at least question his ability to perform as the head of player safety in an unbiased and safe manner.