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Does fighting belong in hockey?
Tue, February 10, 2009

By John Miner and the Canadian Press

A London anti-violence expert is applauding recommendations from a panel on concussions that call for the elimination of fighting from all levels of hockey.

Peter Jaffe said the report could be the tipping point that changes the culture of the game.

The recommendations, resulting from meetings at the London Hockey Concussion Summit on Jan. 17-18, also calls from an elimination of high hits/head hits.

Does fighting belong in hockey? Is it an integral part of the game, or can the game of hockey survive and thrive with the inclusion of fisticuffs? Have your say in our forum.

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Ok what bothers me is that fighting has always been part of hockey... It is only up until recently that it has been considered to be removed from the sport. Is it the someone died from a fight, or is it that everyone cares so much about expanding the sport into the USA? Honestly people have died in boxing matches and the UFC is becoming one of the biggest sports around right now. And the UFC is a thousand times more barbaric than hockey fighting. It is terrible that someone died from a hockey fight, but what about the poor aaron moser who was crippled from a check from behind? Things happen. How many people have died from hockey fights? I know of two people who died last year by simply slipping on the ice outside their house. Hockey fights are exciting, they build momentum and it enforces the sport of hockey to be a tough sport that only select individuals can compete at a professional level. The great thing about hockey is that it is a skilled, fast, tough, and emotional game... why do we always have to be changing the rules? If everyone is concerned about making the sport bigger, think about all of the fans you will lose if you remove fighting along with whatever other rules you want to change in the game.
Jeremy, 2009-01-15 16:29:26

Other than being totally irrelevant toward the outcome of a given hockey game, and other than in has been clearly proven that fights can kill, what bugs me about fighting in hockey are two things:

1- It sucks as a sport or art form. How often is there a satisfying outcome for one side or the other? I can watch replays of Hagler/Hearns or Ali/Foreman endlessly, and some of my favourite sports memories are boxing matches at the smoky old Forum in Montreal. Those were good fights.

2- Unlike boxers, who choose to do what they do, and know the full extent of the risks involved, hockey players of any age and any gender should not feel obliged to fight. Hockey players should be able stick to playing the game to the best of their ability. If a smaller, slighter player can survive bodychecking, he or she should be able to play to the highest level of their potential. The World Juniors are a wonderful example of high level hockey that does not require fighting to be successful.
Andy Frank, 2009-01-15 15:57:55

The reason Fighting needs to remain in the game is because of the loss of respect for players. Players now don't think twice about cross checking another player in the head.

Fighting is the only way to ensure some cheap shot artist is held accountable for his actions
Ron Belding, 2009-01-15 15:44:03

lets not punish drinking and driving because you can die from an accident if your not drunk.

Great logic

Falling off buildings during construction is an integral part of construction. Don't prevent it. If you don't like it don't get into construction.

Works for me

remember there is no rule that can make it safe for two men to fight on skates standing on ice without head protection on. That head protection is the only thing that prevents death or serious permanent injury (on the job) That protection also makes fights hurt your hands more taking you out of the game.

I was just watching TSN and they had a highlight of a number of fights with one players naked head slamming down on the ice. Wonder how much time before the first NHL death occurs? Lets wait and see. Its an integral part of the game. Its necessary. so a few sacrifices are no problem. Which one of you goes wants to volunteer to be that sacrifice?

wayne, 2009-01-15 15:41:11

Fighting is fighting; hockey is hockey. They are mutually exclusive. There are enough other aspects of hockey (stick-handling, play making, slap shots, deaking goalies etc.) that there is absolutely no need for fighting too. Ban it. If someone wants to see fighting then he/she should go to a boxing match or to some event called "fighting". Hockey will survive just fine without fighting.
Cassius Clay, 2009-01-15 15:34:57

You are absolutely right, there is NO excuse for goalie fighting goalie. When that happens the backup goalie's should be coming on the ice because those goalie's should be tossed for the game, and maybe a few more as well. Totally unacceptable and no excuse!
Jim S, 2009-01-15 14:40:28

for all those justifying all fights by a few examples.

1) there are many reasons given for fights

2) explain goalie fighting goalie please?
wayne, 2009-01-15 14:35:14

As an aside to my last comment, a few years ago I sent an email to the NHL and the NHLPA with suggestions about this subject of illegal plays and I never received any replies at all. Suggestions that included increasing the punishments for dirty and illegal hits. One such was that if a player did an illegal hit on another player that resulted in an injury then the offending player would be sidelined for the same amount of time that the injured player was unable to play. (This would be subject to arbitration if the injured player was unable to play ever again). But until something is done that will stop the dirty hits and illegal actions of the goons, fighting has to be tolerated. Once the garbage hits have been cleaned up then the fighting can be abolished, but not until then!
Jim S, 2009-01-15 13:40:13

I like a good, skilled hockey game as much as anyone else does. What I don’t like is the cheap shots that some players take on the more skilled players that the refs “choose” not to see. How many times has a lesser goon driven a rigid elbow pad into the head of a better player while mixing it up in the corner (as he’s probably been instructed to do by the coach) which the ref turned a blind eye to because the recipient didn’t go down. This was an attempt to injure that was not called. Someone has to go to the offending player and let him know that this will not be tolerated, and that’s where the fight is necessary. When players deliver obvious or devious hits that aren’t called and need a reminder to play the game and cut the bull a good thumping is sometimes necessary. Other then rugby and North American football, other sports don’t have the physical contact that hockey has, that’s why you don’t see the fighting in those sports. Even theoretically non-contact sports like baseball and basketball have their occasional bench clearing brawls, as retarded as that is! A fight in North American football??? What’s the point? Both participants are fully armoured, there’s no place to strike that can allow access to a body part. Fighting is a useless endeavour. In rugby even the skilled players are bruisers. You don’t play that sport unless you are big, ornery and aggressive. Their “fighting” is done when they cream each other on the field in their numerous scrums and other violent contact…and they don’t wear the armour like players in other sports do. So, fighting in hockey? Yes there is a place for fighting in hockey. It gives the players a method to iron out their differences or teach lessons, and they need the five minutes to get their strength and wind back because the grappling can take a lot out of you. What I do find ridiculous is the other players waltzing around the fight zone holding each other. Remember, there is the third man in rule, the third man in a fight gets a game misconduct penalty and is out of the game for its duration; created to discourage players from jumping into a fight, even if they are only trying to break it up! So stand back and let that third guy gets kicked out of the game! But for Pete’s sake, stop this hugging each other every time there’s a scrap. If two players drop their gloves, so be it, stand back until they’re tired or clutched in a death grip, then the ref can step in and get it over with, give them their penalties and get on with the game. Stop the whining and yes, players will get hurt. I’m truly sorry that the young man died when he hit his head on the ice. I was also sorry when that player had his neck cut open by a skate blade, but they haven’t legislated wearing skate protectors or neck guards while playing hockey! As far as my memory can go back, this is the first person I can recall dying from hitting his or her head on the ice while fighting in hockey, so all the hubbub is really going overboard! An unfortunate accident happened, but that’s what it was, an accident. Fighting is an integral part of hockey, if you don’t like it, don’t watch it! At the sound of the bell….
Jim S, 2009-01-15 13:26:00

I don't think that fighting should be banned, but perhaps punished more. But automatic ejection for a fight means that teams will have to hire two or three goons instead of one. You don't want open season on your star players once your enforcer is out of the game.

Sanderson died in a fight, but the same can happen with a clean hit. I think it was Kevin Stevens who a few years back was knocked out by a hit and landed square on his face on the ice. So perhaps they should just come up with better protection for players who for whatever reason cannot protect themselves when their heads are making contact with the ice or boards. While they're at it, protect the neck too. It's only a matter of time before someone is paralyzed sliding headfirst into the boards (unless they implement no-touch icing).

I'm not sure of the best protection but I guessing they could improve the gear and resolve a lot of these issues.
Rick W., 2009-01-15 12:49:45

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