The Loop

Is there a softer move in the history of sports than what the NHL is planning to do with its broadcasts?

Among the four major pro sports leagues, the NHL and its players have the identity of being the most brash. It helps that there are much less eyeballs on it, so they can get away with more, but the fighting and constant chirping are not only accepted, but welcomed by hardcore and casual pucks fans alike.

Look no further than the countless “NHL Best Chirps compilation” videos on YouTube. Each of them have millions of views, and the chirps range from expert-level trash talking to fifth-grade level banter, all of them hilarious in their own way. Some are also very NSFW, which is to be expected.

When the NHL returns in August, there will be no fans in the stands due to the coronavirus pandemic. Because of this, hockey fans assumed we’d be able to hear anything and everything that is said on the ice, a dream come true for those who love a good chirp. Sadly, the NHL does not want you to hear that naughty stuff:

Welp, that’s in the running for saddest sports news of the week. On one hand, it seems like the softest move in sports history. Why do leagues care so much about harmless curse words? The NHL should embrace the trash talk, right? Weak.

On the other hand, the era of cancel culture likely has the NHL and other leagues walking on eggshells more than ever before. Any naughty phrases or words could be misinterpreted and would instantly become headline news. In a sport trying to gain fans, the last thing it needs is people being turned away by something they might possibly find a way to be offended by. With that in mind, I’ll have to reluctantly admit that it’s probably the right move. I guess we'll just have to lip read like normal: