FIGHTING IS way down in the NHL compared with the rampant pugilism of the prelockout days, but fans of mayhem can take heart. An influx of young glove-droppers may be on the horizon, thanks in no small part to the Minnesota Wild's 25-year-old enforcer, Derek Boogaard.
This summer, the 6'7", 254-pound Boogaard—who has 278 career penalty minutes in 113 NHL games and whose fights are popular destinations on YouTube—and his not-so-little little brother Aaron (6'3", 245), who recently signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins, held the first two sessions of the Derek and Aaron Boogaard Fighting Camp in their hometown of Regina, Saskatchewan. More than 20 aspiring goonies, ranging in age from 12 to 18, attended each one-day session, which consisted of a highlights video of the brothers' many melees, instruction from a boxing coach and supervised on-ice fighting. (The combatants wore full-face shields and boxing gloves.) The $50 entry fee also got participants a T-shirt stained with red dye to look like blood.
Believe it or not, there are those who feel the camp is in poor taste. Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist Rachel Blount wrote a piece calling the camp "an idea so grotesque it hardly needs to be stated."
But the brothers defend themselves against such attacks as vigorously as they defend their teammates on the ice. "I'm not teaching them how to hurt each other," Derek said to the Pioneer Press in St. Paul. "I'm showing them how to protect themselves—where to hold, where to grab and, if you're in trouble, what to do."
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