Claude Lemieux Character Analysis

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Games of hockey are often described as battles between teams, filled with physical contact, aggression, and determination. However, one violent hit that occurred in 1996 continues to affect teams to this day, over twenty years later. Many argue that the biggest factor in the situation was the effect of the player’s personality, specifically the widely-hated one of Claude Lemieux. In spring of 1996, the Detroit Red Wings were playing the Colorado Avalanche in the National Hockey League’s Western Conference finals. A subtle rivalry previously existed between the two teams, but during Game 6 of the series Claude Lemieux transformed it into one of the biggest rivalries in NHL history. During the game, Lemieux delivered a dangerous and unsportsmanlike…show more content…
Lemieux did not have the typical admiration or following of an NHL all-star player. He was disliked by many, players and fans alike, and is most often referenced as one of the most hated players in NHL history (Pelletier, 2009). His merciless style of hockey left most individuals describing his personality as angry, aggressive, and immoral. This is demonstrated through his disastrous hit on Draper, and his subsequent indifference to the incident or Draper’s injuries. As stated by a media reporter in the months that followed the hit, Lemieux “never really showed any remorse for that hit, and I think that's one of the reasons why the Red Wings had to get some retribution” (Rogers, 2012). Lemieux demonstrates what psychologists describe as Type A behavior, characterized by an excessive competitive drive and easily aroused hostility (Weinberg & Gould, 2015). When this behaviour is presented in athletes it can often lead to a perception that any action must be taken to win, regardless of the immortality or the consequences. Perhaps if Lemieux had lower aggressive and stress levels, known as Type B behaviour, he would have not been compelled to take such a dangerous hit on Draper. Many media outlets and fans assumed that the behaviour Lemieux displayed during games and his aggressive playing style were direct reflections of his
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