Enrico Ciccone, former Washington Capitals enforcer and now Liberal member of Quebec’s National Assembly, introduced a bill this past Wednesday that would ban fighting in amateur sports in Quebec. The bill would apply to athletes under the age of 18, except in combat sports.
Cicccone is a former NHL defenseman who played for the Washington Capitals, Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens, among others. He spent much of his time on ice as an enforcer.
“Well, you know what? If they call me …hypocritical, well that’s all right,” said Ciccone in an interview with As It Happens host Carol Off.
“As you know, things have changed through the years and society has changed, and we have we have numbers, we have scientific reports also that [show] us the damage it can do on your brain,” he told the CBC.
Ciccone said he is in physical and emotional pain every morning, and wants to protect young people in Quebec from suffering in the same way.
“We just want to try to work ahead to make sure that these kids don’t go through what I went through, what a lot of my teammates went through,” he said, citing teammates who had concussions and later struggled with memory loss problems, or Alzheimer’s disease or even died by suicide.
“In my era, you know, it was a part of the game, it was a part of the game plan also, intimidation. But as we go through the years, you know … there’s less and less fighting,” he said.
The bill received unanimous support by all 121 MNAs, and now, will be considered by Isabelle Charest, Quebec junior education minister responsible for sports.
Earlier this fall, Charest called on the QMJHL to ban fighting after the league requested aid from the provincial government because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The league requested $20 million in provincial aid, and was given $12 million.
Ciccone was drafted in 1990 by the Minnesota North Stars. After playing just 31 games with the North Stars, he was traded to the Washington Capitals prior to the 1993–94 NHL season. After just 51 games, he was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning at the trade deadline.
In 374 NHL games, Ciccone scored 10 goals and 18 assists, and amassed 1,469 penalty minutes.
By Jon Sorensen