Wednesday, October 02, 2013

My Stance on Fighting in Hockey

The debate about whether or not fighting should still have a place in hockey was re-ignited last night after George Parros suffered a gruesome injury in a fight with Colton Orr.  I'm gonna join the fun and throw in my two cents about the whole topic (as if anyone actually cares):

Here's what I know: in the 2012 NHLPA Players Poll, 98% of players said they wanted fighting kept in the game.  I also know that on March 9th, 2013 (inspired by Frazer McLaren injuring Dave Dziurzynski in a fight), legendary hockey mind Scotty Bowman tweeted this: "My stance on fighting in [the] NHL is simple: the players past and present should be the ones deciding on its future. I like others never played."  I also know that the players know and accept the risks and responsibilities that come with playing a violent sport like hockey.  I also know that, while its tough to watch someone get injured in a fight, the majority of fights don't result in an injury. 

I also know, though, that fights (especially of the staged variety) don't serve as big a purpose in the game as they once did.  If players are going to be allowed to fight, they should be ones whose sole purpose on the team isn't to act as a sheriff.  I also know that in international tournaments like the World Juniors or the Olympics (where fighting is banned) it takes away little from the experience.  And just today Darren Dreger wrote an article where Steve Yzerman, Jim Rutherford, and Ray Shero (all NHL general managers) spoke about the need to limit the role of the enforcer in hockey.

So I guess at the end of the day, respecting and understanding both sides of the arguments, I'm a bit in between.  I think first and foremost the players that play the game should decide what fighting's role in hockey is.  If they continue to feel as strongly as they do that it should be in the game, then so be it.  After all, it's their lives.  I enjoy watching fights (except when someone gets hurt), but I still see it as more of a compliment to the overall package.  While I hope fighting remains a part of hockey in some capacity, I won't watch any less if it's role is reduced.

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