Now Even Penguins Prospects are Getting Elbowed in the Head

This video is everything that is wrong with the culture of junior hockey.

Tom Kühnhackl is a 20-year-old prospect for the Pittsburgh Penguins who currently plays right wing for the Niagra IceDogs of the Ontario Hockey League. Despite growing up in the Alpine foothills of southern Germany, Kühnhackl grew up rooting for the Penguins.

Last night, he was yet another victim of a human car wreck on ice.

Skip to 2:33 of the video for the horror.

In November, Kühnhackl himself was suspended 20 games by the OHL for delivering an illegal headshot to Kitchener Rangers defenseman Ryan Murphy. You can view the hit here.

Until hockey has the courage (the real kind, not the kind fashioned by guys in Tapout T-shirts) to move to a culture of avoidance instead of the pseudo-science of deliberating intent, players will continue to be turn to stone before our eyes. While the OHL has been exemplary in their handling of headshots, effectively becoming a "zero tolerance" league, this video proves we're still miles away from changing the underlying culture.

Categories: Pulling No Punches