During his nine-year National Hockey League career, George Parros was a threat to player safety. Now he’s defending it. The former pugilist – with 158 career fights – joins the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for the 2016-17 season.
“It’s an interesting opportunity to not only watch a lot of hockey and remain in the sport, but kind of affect what’s going on in the sport in a way that things move forward,” Parros told NHL.com. “You’re trying educate the players, and the thing that best suits me for the job is that I’ve played the game for a long time and played as physical as anybody else, perhaps more so, and never once got fined or suspended.”
“I feel that if anybody out there knows how to walk the line, it’s me.”
“We don’t want to take any physicality out of the game but at the same time you want to make sure players are walking that line that I walked and that’s what interested me about the position,” Parros said. “I don’t want to take any physicality out of the game but certainly there are incidents that arise that can be preventable. So I do want to help educate the players, especially the young players entering the League. There’s a way you can play the game within the lines and I think I certainly did that.”
“I’ll know what to look for and, hopefully, my experience will help lend a hand to the rest of the department.”
His new boss certainly hopes so. Stephane Quintal, NHL Senior Vice President of Player Safety, has assembled a tough team of former NHLers to complement Damian Echevarrieta and Patrick Burke. Parros brings a ton of penalty minutes, though fewer than Quintal (1,320) and Chris Pronger (1,590). He’s also armed with an Ivy League education, having earned an economics degree from Princeton University.
“I am very pleased that George is joining us and excited about what he will bring to our department,” Quintal told NHL.com.
“While he was widely known as a physical player, his coaches, teammates and opponents also knew him as a student of the game. He will add another unique perspective to our group and the fact that he only recently retired means that he has a keen understanding of today’s game.”
Parros, former captain of the Princeton Tigers, was an eighth-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Kings in 1999. The New Jersey native also suited up for the Colorado Avalanche, Anaheim Ducks, Florida Panthers, and Montreal Canadiens. Parros totaled 18 goals and 18 assists in his 474-game NHL career, also piling up 1,092 penalty minutes — sixth-most among players from 2005-2014.