In light of the recent debate in the nwew over fighting in hockey and whether it should be banned I decided to look at my own personal view on the subject. On twitter @vancan19, aka, Josh Hall got into a heated debate with @Raffi_RC, aka Raffi Cavoukian, longtime legendary children’s songwriter and singer and huge advocate for children’s rights. Raffi also made headlines this week with his #muteDonCherry campaign.
In North America, ever since the inception of the NHL way back in the early 1900’s fighting has been not only allowed but at times encouraged on the ice. The arguments for fighting as as numerous as those against.
First a fight is often instigated as a way to get a team going. Its seen as a jolt if a “tough guy” beats up the opponent’s tough guy. This argument falls flat because if a team’s not ready to play at the beginning of the game how is a fight supposed to change things. Furthermore, if the player of the losing team loses the fight badly, wouldn’t that then make the play of the losing team worse having felt even more deflated than before with the dvastating loss?
Another argument for fighting is retribution or revenge for an injury to a star player, especialy if the hit is deemed to be dirty. Two things about hs argument: with regards to dirty hits, the league is currrently working on trying toget those out of the game. I thnk much stiffer punishments would go a long way towards curbing the problem. And these punishments might include longer suspensions, making players serve the full time of the penalty regardless of it being a 2 minute minor or five minute major. The second point I want to make here is thatthe old eye-or-an-eye adage comes into play here. I realize hits area part of the gamebut fighting the player who delvered the hit doesn’t change the fact that th hit occurred.
A third argument made is its for the fans. This one has some legitimacy. Like it or not there are many red-necks out there, like Don Cherry who enjoy watching players duke it ut with their fists. Getting rid of fighting will in fact cause some fans to be turned off of hockey. I personally don’t buy that argument. Yes some fans will no longer be fans but they are shallow if they only watch hockey to see a fight, they can go watch boxig or MMFC if they want to see this stuff. Anyway the league will almost certainly replace those fans wit fans who never watched hockey because of the fighting.
An argument against fighting is the injuries caused by fghting, especially to the head. When players fight they do so by punching their opponents in the head repeatedly. In light of the recent concussion pidemic, do we really want to see more players sidelned unnecessarily? @vancan19 doeshave a valid pint about most head injuries being from plays on the ice and not fighting. Head injuries are such a grey area and we’re still in the process of learning about the brainand the consequences of injuring it. Opponents of fighting certainly got fuel to their fire with the recent deaths of several players who had the role of enforcer on their teams. This is controversial as one can’t leap to such a profound conclusion from a small sample size.
Another argument against fighting is players receive a 5-minute major minimum, more if the refs give them 10 mnute misconducts or additional penalties. This means if its a defenseman, and the team is only playing 6 D that night and one has already been injured then that team is down to 4 defensemen until the penalty(s) expire.
@raffi_rc made the argument that fighting is banned in soccer, basketball and football but not hockey. He is only partially correct. At the Olympic level, and I believe the European leagues (I’m not sure about Women’s hockey) if you fight your not only out of that game but your suspended for at least the next and the team is fined. It’s only in North American leagues where players are allowed to play after fighting.
Conclusion: I’ve presented and critiqued arguments both pro/against fighting in hockey. Personally I think the game of hockey would survive if fighting was banned from the game tomorrow. However before that occurs, suspension of dorty hits and hits to the head must be curbed. There are far too many players currently out with head injuries, including leading scorer Claude Giroux, stalwart defenseman Chris Pronger and the biggest asset to the NHL Sidney Crosby. Yo’ll never completely eliminate head injuries but they can be mnimized through harsher consequences, more sensible equipment and eliminiating unnecessary injuries through fighting.