For the past few years the debate has been heating up over whether fighting in hockey needs to be eliminate. From the sudden death of former NHL tough guys like Wade Belak and Bob Probert, to the increase in concussions and studies surrounding brain injuries, numerous events have unfolded that have led to the skepticism over whether there truly is a place for fighting in the NHL. Recently, NHL legend, Bobby Orr, was asked in an interview if he believed fighting should be banned form hockey. Orr responded by saying that there is a place for fighting in the game, but only a certain type of fighting.
In the NHL players are often brought in as tough guys that solely make their paycheck based of defending their teammates. They aren’t elite hockey players, but rather big strong guys who have the guts and the physicality to take and deliver punches night after night. Over time though, these players have developed their roles into a form in which they not only fight to defend, but also to excite. Stage fighting happens when two players have preplanned a fight, whether before a whistle or even prior to the game. It is this type of fighting that both Orr and myself believe needs to be eliminated from hockey. There is no need for this type of fighting, as the way I see it, if I wish to watch staged fights I can go watch a UFC event or professional wrestling match.
If the NHL is to ban all fighting from the sport, the repercussions could be even worse than the injuries that are resulting from fighting. Players will show little respect for one another and star players will become targets of vicious physicality that is beyond what is allowed. As a result, the sport will change drastically much like any other sport would if a major component were to be banned. Personally, I believe that at the moment is tackling injuries as a result of fighting with the right approach. Creating new rules to reduce fighting and limit injuries by imposing new equipment standards during fights.
Where do you believe the place for fighting is in the NHL, and what approaches can be taken to get it there?
Have a great week