doing it wrong.
Unfortunately, it's a myth.
No, not the existence of The Code itself. It's the "unwritten" part that everyone has wrong. In reality, The Code has been written down in detail and passed on from one generation of NHL tough guys to the next. Every enforcer in the league has a copy; they just don't let us see it.
Until now, that is. I've obtained a tattered copy of The Code, and transcribed it below. It's time that hockey fans knew the truth.
Welcome to the league. In your role as an NHL tough guy, you will be expected to conduct yourself according to a traditional set of rules and procedures. We call them The Code, and they are the rules we live by.
Please read The Code carefully and thoroughly, and follow it at all times.
All players shall be divided into the following weight classes, listed in descending order of toughness:
- Doug Weight
The Code dictates that players should stay within their weight class whenever possible. For example, a heavyweight may only fight:
- Another heavyweight
- A cruiserweight who has instigated the confrontation
- A lightweight who has attempted to injure a teammate
- An overweight Flyers fan who has fallen into the penalty box.
- The nagging feeling that your job will no longer exist in three years.
Any of the following phrases, when spoken directly to an opponent, shall be taken as a invitation to fight:
- "Let's go."
- "Wanna drop the gloves?"
- "Would you like hear a detailed rundown of my fantasy draft?"
- "Whoa oh oh, this is Canada's team!"
- "I don't know, Paul, to be honest I find your twitter account sort of juvenile and repetitive."
It is considered appropriate to initiate a fight when:
- Your team has lost momentum at home, and you want to wake up the crowd
- An opponent has committed a serious offence for which immediate retribution is required
- You suddenly realize that you haven't been mentioned on Coach's Corner in almost three weeks
- Colin Campbell e-mailed you and told you to. (Note: It's probably a good idea to delete the e-mail afterwards)
Avoid fighting under inappropriate circumstances, such as when:
- The coach has given you specific instructions not to
- Late in a close game, when an instigator penalty could result in a crucial powerplay goal
- Your opponent is not expecting it, since he's busy listening to the national anthem
- Some other completely inappropriate time, such as the playoffs
Any of the following acts shall be deemed in violation of The Code, and deserving of an immediate punch in the face:
- Shooting a puck towards the net after a whistle
- Spraying snow on a goalie who has covered the puck
- Revealing the ending to "The Wire" to someone who hasn't finished watching the DVDs yet
- Attempting that cheap breakaway move from NHL 94
- Being Sean Avery
If, in the moments immediately preceding a fight, an opposing player:
- Removes his gloves: You must do the same
- Removes his helmet and visor: You should do the same
- Removes his elbow pad: You may do the same if you choose to
- Removes his shirt and pants: You should consider the possibility that you are not actually in a fight and have instead accidentally wandered into Patrick Kane's limousine
An altercation is considered over as soon as any of the following occur:
- The linesmen make their first effort to intervene
- One or both players goes to the ice
- The opponent's trainer asks if you could hold off hitting him for a few seconds while they get him on to the stretcher
- The Minnesota Wild fan gets a hand free and starts dialling his lawyer on his cell phone
- Pretty much as soon as it begins, if you are Matt Carkner and the other guy is Colton Orr
(Unless, you know, somebody makes you really mad. Then just go ahead and do whatever you want.)