We still don't know if there was any link between the tragic deaths of three NHL enforcers this summer, but we do know that these men do have increasingly difficult lives and that they deal with serious issues connected to their extremely stressful jobs.
There is no doubt that, even without a link, the deaths of Rick Rypien, Wade Belak and Derek Boogaard this offseason have shined a brighter light on those issues. I know it has for me. That's why I'm extremely interested to see how these men are portrayed in Alliance Films' new picture, Goon, starting Seann William Scott.
The one line that obviously stands out in the trailer, especially if you've been following the tragedy in hockey this summer with a watchful eye: "I'm high on painkillers!" ... in a scene that involves heavy drinking. That's enough to make everybody that's ever heard Boogaard's story more than uncomfortable.
The trailer clearly illustrates a film that glorifies fighting in hockey and their lifestyle, but I'm curious to see what somebody who's actually lived the life would think of that glorification. Somebody like Georges Laraque, for example:
"This job is so hard, physically and mentally," said Laraque. "You can go to a movie theatre the night before a game and you're thinking of the fight you're going to get into the next day. Like, you have to fight Boogaard. Then that game's over and it's like, 'OK, I have to fight Jody Shelley.' After that it's Brian McGrattan. You try not to think about it, but you start with the drugs or the alcohol and that creates the problem."
Fedoruk believes most NHL enforcers have issues off the ice. Mental things that drag them down. He says most enforcers are never really secure in their role or with their team and are always wondering whether they "fit." That's their common bond, he said.
"It seems more and more, the guys who are demon fighters are the ones who play this role," he said. "I don't know if this goes hand-in-hand or you have to be a little crazy to do what we do. It's a price you pay."
We only have bits and pieces of this film to go off of at this point, of course, so it's too soon to make judgments. We don't know if they address the serious problems that plague these men, or if they choose to only glorify them instead.
Maybe I'm increasingly sensitive because I've been writing about death for the last several months, but the Goon movie trailer was extremely disconcerting to me when I first saw it Tuesday morning on Reddit. It'll get me to see the movie, so maybe the job has already been done, but I'm not going to be watching it because I think it'll be entertaining.