Protocol Number 12-425: Unwritten Rules : An Examination of the “Code” or “Code of Conduct” in the National Hockey League




Buxcey, John

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Professional Ice Hockey, as it is played in the National Hockey League (NHL), has rules of engagement termed the “code” or “code of conduct” that govern the conduct and interaction of players during games that is separate from the rules as written in the National Hockey League Official Rules 2012-2013 (© Copyright 2012 National Hockey League). The research examined and interpreted the “rules and meanings” implicit in the “code” by reviewing and identifying themes in the popular media, academic literature and in depth interviews with two former NHL players. At the core of the research is a focus on the idea or concept of interpretation. The results and ideas presented were interpreted through the lens of the primary researcher. It was interpreted inductively from the interviews, transcript text, audio recordings, life experience and self-reflection. The ideas and themes developed were co-constructed somewhere within the relationship between the researcher, the recorded data, society, and the participants. In the fourth chapter, the research was interpreted, written and presented in the form of a play or ethnodrama. It was the intention of the research to present and explore themes surrounding violence in a non-polarizing manner. As a play, ideas that are usually sensationalized by the media can be expressed and identified through the life experience of “real” characters. The play form allows for a window into the motivation behind sanctioned and unsanctioned violence in the NHL, sport, and aspects of daily lives that are governed by unwritten rules.



sport, code, ice hockey, masculinity, identity, violence, ethnodrama