|Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons. (REUTERS/Chris Wattie)
OTTAWA - MPs are warning the National Hockey League if officials won't take escalating violence on the ice seriously, they might take matters into their own hands.
MPs, like many Canadian hockey fans, were shocked Thursday when the NHL took no action against the Boston Bruins or defenceman Zdeno Chara after a vicious hit on Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty.
Pacioretty's career may be finished after he suffered a concussion and fractured vertebra in the hit late in the second period of a game in Montreal Tuesday night.
"I simply don't understand what the NHL is thinking here," Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff told reporters after the NHL made its decision. "It's up to the National Hockey League to protect its players. It's up to the National Hockey League to protect all the young kids playing the game. It's up to the National Hockey League to act and I can tell you, there is strong feeling in the House of Commons that if they don't act, then, you know, we should get involved. No politician wants to get involved in this, it's not our business. But as a citizens, as a fan, I think it's outrageous."
The Chara hit came up during daily Question Period in the House of Commons minutes before the NHL released its decision.
NDP MP Glenn Thibeault, who has been pushing new legislation to reduce concussions and other serious injuries in amateur sports, told the House the Chara hit was more evidence new rules are needed.
Minister of State for Sport Gary Lunn said the government had been consulting with national sporting organizations on the issue.
"It is something that we hope that the NHL also takes very seriously. This type of hitting is unacceptable," Lunn said. "We would do everything to ensure that NHL does not allow this kind of action to continue."