Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Donald Fehr and NHLPA Seek to Curb Fighting in NHL

It would appear that some leadership on the issue of fighting in the NHL is emerging, and not from the league or the teams.   It was announced today on the French Radio Canada website that Donald Fehr and the NHLPA are working towards the elimination of fighting in the NHL.

The article was published on the Radio Canada website and is in French.  You can access it via the link below and can use Google translate if required.  

Donald Fehr Wants to Eliminate Fighting in the NHL

I have provided the Google translated version below without any editing – grammatical and spelling errors included.

Donald Fehr wants to eliminate fighting in the NHL

Those who denounce violence and fighting in hockey often point the Association of NHL players finger, pointing out that it does nothing to ensure the safety and protect the health of its members. Now it seems that it is no longer quite the case.

On April 25, at a meeting held at the Chateau Champlain in Montreal with a dozen influential agents, the director of the NHLPA, Donald Fehr, told his hosts that the association seeks to curb problem fights and - surprise! - NHL also started thinking in this direction.

The accumulation of scientific data confirming the permanent brain damage arising from concussions, the recent deaths of former fighters in the NHL as well as the prosecution and the possibility of a potential class action players, it seems , led to a questioning of the pharmacies in the NHL.

Fehr revealed that he had begun to see the players on how to reach a consensus and invited the agents (who came from Quebec and Eastern Ontario) to speak on the subject and it submit for thought.


After leading the Association of Major League Baseball players for a quarter century, Fehr found himself at the head of the NHLPA in 2012. Aged about 65 years, he has signed with the NHL collective agreement that could last ten years. It seems that the abolition of fighting is one of the objectives that Fehr is set before bowing out.

"Nothing concrete has been announced to us, but I felt that Fehr was motivated by a genuine desire to address the issue of fighting," says the Robert Sauvé, who confirmed that he had attended the meeting agent.

Fehr meet with agents every year to inform them of market trends, various problems related to the application of the collective agreement and the content of some discussions with the leaders of the NHL. On April 25, the main item on the agenda was the new provisions that appear in the collective agreement in January. Thereafter, the Director of the NHLPA who himself raised the issue of fighting.

"Fehr told us he was trying to understand the dynamics of fights and he was struggling to understand an athlete can get to defeat another or to injure him in the course of a game. It is a culture that has not known when was working in other sports, "reveals Gilles Lupien for his part, who was also present at the discussion.


According to witnesses, it appears that Lupien, who strongly denounced the violence in hockey for twenty years, was one of the most active partners in this discussion. As a former fighter in the NHL, he believes have all the necessary knowledge to speak on this issue.

Asked about this, the main applicant has not denied his participation in the debate. And according to him, the problem is fairly easy to adjust: you have to deal with those who incite players to drop the gloves.

"If coaches are punished instead of suspending players and impose fines, the issue of fighting in hockey would be resolved within a month. These are the coaches who are in charge, "argues Lupien.

"We do not have the choice to address these issues because we have on hand information that was not available 20 years ago. Athletes put their health at risk, it is a known fact. I can not believe that we will not be able to stop the fights of hockey. Just a bit of good will! "Pleads Sauvé.

Observers often try to justify the continuation of fighting for economic reasons, arguing that a certain percentage of customers buy the NHL tickets to fights. Gilles Lupien rejected this argument out of hand.

"If the NHL comes to abolish fighting, it will attract a different type of customer and the stands will be full anyway. Look what's happening in the QMJHL. Some measures have been taken in recent years to reduce the number of fights. There never was so little, and the audience have never been higher! , "He insists.

"That said, I maintain that fighting should be completely eliminated from hockey. "

The approach of Donald Fehr and thinking leaders in the NHL eventually they actually lead by the abolition of fights? There are so many dinosaurs in the hockey world that is doubtful.

But for the first time, we know only the highest levels of the industry, there are people who think seriously about this issue. This is already a great step forward.

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