Bread City Basketball

Helmets and Gloves
January 6, 2012, 2:49 pm
Filed under: Bread City, Hockey, Photography | Tags: ,

For a century now, in hockey, the possibility of having to engage in a fist-fight with a bad character has been the primary deterrent preventing this or that player from trying to hurt an opponent on the other team.
– Nick Paumgarten for The New Yorker, 12/7/11

But what happens when the player you want to hurt is wearing the same color jersey?

This isn’t about hockey equipment. This is about middle-class omertá, and what happens after practice.

In high school locker rooms everywhere, teammates strip their pads down to helmets and gloves, and beat the hell out of each other while the rest of the team watches.

Sometimes it’s a way of settling disputes. Sometimes it’s a way of enforcing team rules. Sometimes it’s just because teenagers like to fight. Either way, helmets and gloves is a bona fide subculture-within-a-sport. It has its own codes of conduct and is a universal experience within North American high school hockey culture. The pads all smell the same. The coaches all look the other way. And it remains a secret.

Boston Bruins, Vintage Polaroid, Hockey Art
photo by Mrs. Toews

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