I know little about hockey* beyond the basic principles of the game, but recently I’ve come across the concept of enforcers. Apparently, they’re players whose designated role is to retaliate against opposing players that have been excessively rough.
Leaving aside that this sounds like institutionalised foul play, I wonder if it makes sense tactically. I’d think that the opposing team’s action that the enforcers responds to was, in itself, against the rules, and therefore penalised by the referee. That would mean no additional retaliation would be necessary. The enforcer’s action, on the other hand, would also be against the rules and therefore be penalised in turn. Doesn’t that make the whole concept counterproductive? Plus, when a coach brings in an enforcers as a substitute, that will mean another player who might be more valuable will have to be removed. Perhaps the idea is that penalties in hockey are too lenient to effectively deter foul play? But then it would make tactical sense to commit way more foul play, not merely in retaliation to what the opposing team has done. Is it a balance of terror kind of idea?
*) “Ice hockey” to the Europeans, where “hockey” alone usually refers to field hockey (played on grass).