Just recently, and not even the first time, I was trolled by someone who felt the need to debate the toughness of hockey players; pertaining to hockey players compared to basketball players. Though the idea to those of us who follow hockey very closely is nothing short of laughable, there are many uneducated folks who, because of their greater exposure to basketball, are just ignorant to the subject which they continue to debate.
We could simply just point to the workplace hazards that exist and one would think the debate would be complete. In hockey, players constantly deal with the threat of razor blade skates across limbs and/or major arteries, 3 inch pieces of FROZEN, vulcanized rubber flying at exposed knees, ankles or worse teeth and eyes at 95+ miles per hour and other players who stand 6’6” and weigh 260 pounds who are constantly running into each other at 35 miles an hour into fiberglass walls. Basketball players on occasion go head first into the front row of unsuspecting photographers and/or cheerleaders.
At the heart of the debate is the injuries suffered by Tampa Bay Lightning’s Steven Stamkos and Boston Bruins Gregory Campbell. Both players suffered season-ending broken legs during their respective shifts. Unlike in other sports like soccer, where a player flails on the field when they get bumped into, Stamkos and Campbell continued (or at least attempted to stay on the ice) their shifts. In direct contrast, LeBron James had to be carried off the court a few years ago after suffering cramps.
Cramps. A direct result of not having enough fluids and/or not stretching properly. So, not only was James’ injury a result of his neglect, his injury was one that only required an IV. Stamkos just had a rod inserted into his tibia, the entire length of his tibia.
This is in no way a declaration that injuries do not happen in basketball. My point is simply that there are no tougher athletes than hockey players. In a sport where the point is to throw a ball into a hoop with your hands, to insinuate that basketball is tougher than a sport which requires a player to hit a frozen puck with a composite stick with all of their might at a player who is willingly standing in front of the net and behind five other players throwing their exposed bodies in front of said puck, is laughable and borderline ignorant.