NEW YORK (Lighthouse Press) _ The National Hockey League is expected to unveil a controversial plan today that would allow professional fishermen to track down and trap dangerous Minnesota Wild forward Matt Cooke as a result of a vicious recent attack that has left hockey players, fans and tourists feeling threatened.
Three-kilometer "Cooke Zones" will be established around every NHL arena with nets and lines baited with food and microphones to capture Cooke should he wander by. Only licensed professional fishermen in good standing with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be eligible to target Cooke in the wild in what NHL commissioner Gary Bettman insists is not a cull.
"This is about safety," Bettman said. "Can we guarantee a great white Matt Cooke won't attack someone in an NHL game? No. But we can take controlled, preventative measures to keep the chances of that happening down."
Cooke attacks have been a consistent danger to anyone coming near a rink in recent seasons. While Cooke has generally been known to only attack other humans when frightened or provoked, the number of injuries and near-deaths as a result of Cooke aggression is alarming enough to warrant more proactive legislation from the NHL.
"We understand Matt Cooke's important role in the NHL ecosystem," said Stephan Quintal, the league's newly-minted head of Player Safety. "But if Matt Cooke is seen threatening highly-populated recreational areas, then steps should be taken to protect unsuspecting players, swimmers, surfers and children from a surprise attack by this unpredictable animal. It's clear the outdated suspend-and-release tactics were not effective."
The NHL has not specified when the new Matt Cooke hunting program would officially begin or how long it would remain in effect. Protesters have already started opposing the initiative by picketing docks, harassing fishermen and gathering outside the NHL offices on Sixth Avenue.
"We should be protecting the endangered Matt Cooke, not hunting him," said Wild fan Sheila Flodder. "He's not as dangerous as the media or pop culture make him out to be. This is a knee-jerk reaction to an isolated incident."
Pro angler and extreme hunter Pike Stigsson sees the other side of the Cooke hunting argument.
"Knee-jerk reactions are what Matt Cooke does best," Stigsson said. "Better get that jerk's knees before he gets yours."
This is fake. Please do not hunt Matt Cooke with live bait, fishing nets or anything else.