Playing hockey is obviously great fun, but if players aren’t careful, the sport can have its hazardous moments. Such an instant happens when one skater sends another a suicide pass. Sometimes called a buddy pass — or a “suey” for short — it leaves the receiver susceptible to a powerful check. In fact, that hit can be as devastating as any hit you’ll ever see in a football game.

A suicide pass occurs as follows. A player tries to send a teammate the puck. However, the pass is a little too fast, and it ends up zooming behind the recipient. In trying to gain control of the puck, the receiver turns for a second.

If that player gets body checked right then, he’s in one of the worst positions to be in: with his head facing the opposite direction. (The pronouns “he” and “his” appear here because body checking is not allowed in women’s hockey.)

Moreover, the hitter is often in the pass recipient’s blind spot, which means he doesn’t have the chance to brace himself for the blow. Thus, the hit can be painful in the extreme, and it can lead to a spinal injury.

When players make suicide passes, they’re usually shooting the puck into a congested part of the rink, which makes it tougher to judge how hard to hit it. In that situation, it’s also more difficult for receivers to stay focused on the puck as it travels toward them. They must keep an eye on the people all around them.

Compilations of NHL suicide passes can be found here and here. Meanwhile, this video shows the buddy pass and its aftermath during a Canadian college hockey game.

Watching suicide pass videos can be almost painful; it’s hard not to squirm during them. Still, they can be valuable teaching tools. They vividly remind viewers not to look away when grabbing a puck. And, after seeing these clips, a hockey player might resolve to be super careful with every pass, no matter how desperate a game situation may be.

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