Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law


John Timmer

First Page



This Note argues that the criminal justice system is ill-equipped to, and thus should refrain from, prosecuting professional hockey players for violent acts committed during the course of play. Part II examines professional hockey and provides background regarding the nature of violence in the sport. Part III then discusses the history of prosecution of violent acts committed during professional hockey games, both in Canada and in the United States, providing some context for the type of violent actions that are prosecuted. Part IV examines some of the problems that arise in the prosecution of professional hockey players, including all applicable affirmative defenses available to players. This Note concludes by arguing that the NHL, not the criminal justice system, is the appropriate institution to punish, and thus deter, excessive violence in professional ice hockey.