At any given moment in any given game, any player can end the season of another with one swing of their stick.
Hockey is a sport which requires bursts of controlled chaos a half-minute at a time. Any player at any time can give and receive a number of punishing blows.
Through a shift, a period, and a game, the physical and emotional intensity inevitably heightens to a point at which the tension of the conflict has to give way to the resolution of the conflict.
So do the players risk their careers with injury and/or suspension by turning their sticks to weapons and attack each other?
No. Two professional fighters square-off at centre ice and pound on each other in a collective catharsis for both teams and rabid fans alike.
When the fight produces a winner both professionals skate away uninjured and the game continues.