OTTAWA, Ontario — NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told the Parliament of Canada on Wednesday that it would be impossible to ban all hits to the head and maintain hockey as a physical game.
Bettman said in testimony that larger players would inevitably land blows on smaller players’ heads in the normal course of play. He said the game is safer for players and different in terms of physical contact from football, where there are repeated blows to players’ heads.
Bettman also said he hasn’t seen any evidence to link long-term brain damage and multiple blows to the head while playing the game.
The special committee of parliament is looking at the issue of concussions, including options for treatment, prevention and what, if anything, the federal government should be doing about sports-related head injuries. The panel has heard from a number of high-profile sports figures, including Eric Lindros, the former NHL player whose Hal of Fame career was cut short after because of multiple concussions.