Monday 30 January 2012

Junior Leagues Moving in the Right Direction

Over the past couple of weeks there has been some very good news coming out of the junior hockey leagues in the U.S. and in Canada.  USA Hockey is looking to ban fighting from its junior ranks and is hoping that Canadian junior hockey does the same.

Thursday 26 January 2012

More Facts and Less Emotion

Check out any comment section of an online article or a team discussion forum where the topic is the elimination of fighting from hockey and invariably the pro-fighting fans display an emotional response.   The standard arguments get trotted out; players need to be held accountable, the cheap shot artists will take over, injuries will increase and players need to fight to relieve the stress of competition.    And feel free to offer a differing opinion, as long as you enjoy being told you know nothing about the game and should go watch ice dancing or badminton. 

Saturday 21 January 2012

Two fights and Opposite Impressions

This week there were two fights in the NHL that general managers and coaches pointed to as good examples of the importance of fighting in the game.    The message was that these bouts demonstrated that players needed to enforce the game and bring about accountability.   My viewpoint is that they got it all wrong.

Monday 16 January 2012

If You’re Not Part of the Solution…

I didn’t wake up one morning and decide to start a protest movement that would bring about the end of fighting in the NHL.  It took years of frustration of watching senseless violence and one well written article in the NY Times.

Friday 13 January 2012

A Momentum Shift?

It has been a very good week for anyone who wants to see an end to fighting in the NHL.  As noted in my previous blog, last Thursday Brian Burke galvanized opinion on the role of the enforcer, with most media outlets disagreeing with Burke’s opinions and stating that it’s time for the league to ban fighting.  The same day, by complete coincidence, Jim Devellano the Red Wings’ senior vice president, said on a podcast, “I would eliminate it immediately. I can do without it. I don’t need it.”

Wednesday 11 January 2012

Thank You Brian Burke

I’m sure that it wasn’t intentional, but Brian Burke’s recent outburst may be a positive thing for those who want to see fighting taken out of the NHL.   He expressed his disappointment in the demise of the enforcer in the league when he announced the demotion of Colton Orr.   It was widely covered by the press and galvanized a lot of people who responded with a significant amount of comments that it’s time to take the goons out of the game.

Monday 9 January 2012

Making the NHL Sit Up and Take Notice

I believe that the majority of NHL fans want to see fights in hockey eliminated.  I have no proof, no studies that I can cite, or documented surveys that I can publish.   My opening statement might seem foolish using anecdotal evidence – when I’m at the Air Canada Centre and a fight breaks out, I’m one of the few that remains seated, waiting for the interruption to be moved off the ice by the referees.   But when I see various media stories on fighting and then move to the reader’s comments I am encouraged by the number of people who also want to see the NHL put an end to fisticuffs.

Wednesday 4 January 2012

Fighting Makes Players Accountable For Their Actions

This is one of the most popular reasons for fighting and it’s ironic because it’s clearly not working.  Players who foul other players get penalties and still get jumped by the designated goon when they are released from the penalty box.   Players deliver good solid hockey hits and still the other team’s fighter steps on the ice for their few minutes of playing time and decide to make that guy “accountable”.   The problem with allowing players to police the game is that they are the ones who are making up the infractions.   They aren’t using any rule book, it’s just based on what they think is right or wrong.  

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.