Saturday, January 22, 2011

Re-Post: Professional Hockey --- To Fight Or Not To Fight?

I've had this conversation many times in the past and I had it again today. Fighting in professional it necessary?

Instead of making a new post, I will re-post what I wrote nearly 11 months ago about my feelings towards fighting.


In my last post I mentioned that the Men's Ice Hockey Tournament was the best ever in Olympic history. We saw outstanding play but we also saw outstanding sportsmanship as well. Sure, there was pushing and shoving after whistles --- that's to be expected. However, there is one “aspect” of hockey that was not seen.

No fighting. It's not allowed in the international game nor is it permissible in college or high school. Should there be fights during those games, an automatic one game suspension is mandatory, without exception. Yet, in professional hockey and in juniors, fighting is very much allowed and considered by some a staple of the game.

My intention here is to briefly weigh the pros and cons of fighting and I will give my opinion on whether hockey should or should not be banned on all levels.

Pros ---

Traditionalists believe that fighting is a necessary evil in hockey. Fights are to inspire a team playing lethargically, show opponents that they will not be pushed around, or sometimes players fight just for the sake of fighting. It does happen. Many fans ( In this instance, I use “fans” loosely) go to games merely to see a fight. At one time, if the game was played with elbows, knees, and sticks were used as weapons, fights and the occasional bench clearing brawl would erupt as a way to control the game. In effect, players were policing themselves. Yes, there were times where brawls got out of hand and that was alright with many teams. That was a part of hockey years ago.

Cons ---

Fighting, according to many, disrupts the flow of hockey for no reason whatsoever. Two grown men dropping the gloves and removing helmets from their own heads just to see who is tougher is just plain stupid. Fisticuffs do nothing for the game and is just a sideshow with most fights involving players with little or no hockey talent. Fighting promotes violence in hockey and therefore must be banned.

Now that I have giving some examples as to why fighting is either necessary or unnecessary, my opinion is...

Fighting should NOT be banned. As a hockey fan since the late 1960's, I feel that there are benefits to fighting. I believe that fights can and do inspire teams playing poorly in a particular game. Although the National Hockey League, has done a very good job in limiting the number of fights by imposing the instigator rule, banning it would lead to more dangerous play especially an increase in the stick fouls of slashing and high sticking. Also, players would be more apt to take a run at players with reckless abandon, thus leading to more major injuries.

That's just one hockey fans opinion...what's yours?


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