The Code: The Unwritten Rules of Fighting and Retaliation in the NHL

The Code: The Unwritten Rules of Fighting and Retaliation in the NHL is a 2006 book that delves into the history of fighting in the NHL and the unwritten code that the players follow when it comes to fighting. The book features many insider stories from some of the NHL’s most legendary enforcers including Marty McSorley and Tony Twist who also write forewords for the book.

Bernstein interviewed over 50 NHL players, coaches, and media personalities to get the inside scoop on fighting in the NHL. The book goes in-depth on the how and why of the gloves coming off in the game and the honor system behind fighting in hockey. While fighting in hockey is often portrayed as pure violence, the people interviewed in this book spell out the Code of unwritten rules behind the fights and the sportsmanship of the fighters themselves.

The Code goes into the rules of engagement for fighting that include protection, intimidation, and retaliation. While fights may seem random or retaliatory, it can often take place because of multiple events prior to the fight.

The later part of this book also covers some of the rule changes that took place in 2005 and how they changed the rules of engagement.
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About the Author

Ross Bernstein has written more than 40 sports books in his career and is a sought after motivational keynote speaker. Ross’ life has been defined in many ways by his late friend and mentor Herb Brooks, coach of the 1980 Miracle on Ice U.S. Men’s hockey team. Bernstein was working with him on a series of motivational/self-help books at the time of his tragic passing in 2003. Bernstein’s career as a motivational speaker draws heavily from the life-lessons and ideologies he learned from Brooks.

Bernstein is also the co-author of Slap Shot Original: The Man, the Foil, and the Legend with actor Dave Hanson which is Hanson’s first-hand accounting of the making of the most popular hockey movie of all time, Slapshot. He also wrote another book called The Code that focuses on baseball’s unwritten rules.

Other Books You May Like

Goon: Memoir of a Minor League Hockey Enforcer by Doug Smith with Adam Frattasio: The story of an amateur boxer who took his one skill and used it to become a hockey enforcer. This book was the basis of the movie Goon starring Sean William Scott.

The Grim Reaper: The Life and Career of a Reluctant Warrior by Stu Grimson with Kevin Allen: This memoir of the legendary enforcer tells a story that you might not expect. Grimson was considered one of the toughest men in the NHL during his career, but what many didn’t know is that he was attending university at the same time to earn his law degree. Not only is this book a great story of his life and career, it also includes his fascinating data-driven defence of fighting.

The Code Podcasts

The Sports Ethicist on Hockey Fights: The Sports Ethicist discusses the ethics of fighting in hockey with long-time hockey fan and best friend, Joe Danker.

g>Dropping the Gloves with John Scott: Former NHL toughman John Scott has a podcast where he talks about hockey, his post-NHL life, and the fights that defined his career.