Sunday, 1 January 2012

Put An End To Fighting In Hockey

It’s part of the game….

I have been a hockey fan for as long as I can remember, close to a half-century of playing and watching one of the most exciting sports on the planet.   There was never a time during the past 50 years that I thought fighting belonged in hockey.  The phrase, “It’s part of the game” has to be the most short sighted view of those who enjoy watching two people beat themselves up, and of those league officials who cannot bring themselves to bring it to an end.   It’s not part of the game.

The roots of hockey are somewhat obscure but I refuse to believe that the inventors of this game included fighting as an integral part of the play.    I have trouble believing that NHL governors and officials think the image of hockey is elevated by allowing relatively unskilled players to interrupt the flow of the game by responding to some perceived injustice done to their team.   In a time when all levels of hockey are concerned about the health of the participants, particularly blows to the head, I find it amazing that coaches and team owners display such an indifference to seeing players punch each other on a nightly basis. It is also unbelievable that the NHL players would continue to support an activity that serves as such a poor role model for minor hockey.  

Let’s trot out some of the major defense arguments that you will hear from the pro-fighting fans and journalists.
  • “It’s always been part of hockey”.   Hey, if it’s a historical need for blood that feeds the support for fighting, then let’s go back to no masks for the goalies and no glass to protect the fans in the arena.  Fighting was always stupid and there’s no need to continue to have it as part of the game.
  • “It’s necessary in order to allow players to relieve stress”.   There are lots of professional sports where the play is fast or stressful, and none of them allow fighting.  The only difference is hockey allows their exciting fast-paced game to be stopped because a star player got bumped or there was left over animosity from a previous meeting.   If NHL players could not control and channel their emotions, none of them would have gotten to the NHL.
  • “Designated tough guys are needed on each team to keep the other team honest”.  So referees are unable to control the game?   The problem with this argument is that goons are sent over the boards when their star players are knocked down with legal hits in order to “send a message”.  

What do I hope to accomplish with this blog?  At the very least someone should be presenting an alternative view on a regular basis and highlight the issue with players, fans, officials and the media.  There are hundreds of sites dedicated to celebrating the best fights in hockey and allowing visitors to vote on the top battles or pugilists, and someone has to counter that with another view.   Perhaps this site, in time, can become a rallying point for others with a similar opinion and we can build a movement that will finally put a stop to the designated goon on each team.  The results of this blog may be somewhere in between but I do believe that one day I will see the end of fighting in hockey. 

No comments:

Post a Comment