Now Is The Time To Ban Fighting In Hockey

Now is the time to ban fighting in hockey, permanently.

With COVID-19 continuing on, leagues have an opportunity to revue rules, reevaluate, and make changes that will benefit the sport.

One of the clearest examples of how the rules can work, is the NCAA. An automatic game misconduct for a fight. That’s a rule that is also present in Junior B and Junior C leagues, levels which should ban fighting immediately and permanently.

Olympic hockey, and the World Juniors, seen as one of the most entertaining tournaments on the globe are other prime examples of fight free hockey.

The sport of hockey exists with the puck on the ice, and the clock running, not after the whistle. That’s when a fight occurs.

In an age where we are so educated about the risks of concussions, mental health, and substance abuse, fighting seems like the most backward omission sport can allow.

“Fighting is one of the known causes of concussion, and may result in the related long-term complications,” the panel’s summary statement says. “Fighting can cause needless death.”

The Concussion Summit, 2009

The above quote was published by the NHL themselves, in 2009.

With COVID-19 demanding hands off in most sports, now is the time to stop bare knuckle fighting in hockey. It’s needless, and it’s dangerous.

Imagine in a world where social distancing becomes the new norm, to allow professional hockey players, who are not paid to fight, they are paid to score and stop goals, to bare skinned hit each other and exchange sweet, saliva, and blood.

Have a counterpoint? Prove it! Because there is no evidence stating fighting keeps hockey safer, or free of cheap shots as many claim.

Because the evidence of concussions related to fighting is there. According to research by Kuhn and Solomon, fighting has been responsible for as much as 9% of all concussions in hockey.

Sounds like a small percentage? Sure. But if you could immediately reduce concussion rates in any sport by 9% with a single rule change, you would, and it would protect the health of athletes.

The NCAA and International hockey are prime examples of hockey fighting does not need to exist in hockey. Need another example, watch the women’s game. No fighting, and extremely entertaining hockey.

Thinking of the World Junior tournament, each team enlists as much talent as possible, and aims to keep those players in the lineup. If you fight, you’re out, and your team is at a marked disadvantage.

In the NHL playoffs, fighting declines as well. Why? Because the games mean something.

If at the NHL level, and every level below, players were immediately ejected, and teams or players were financially punished for fights, they would end quickly. Perhaps to safely return to hockey, and to once and for all end fighting, even harsher and progressive penalties are needed.

Need more reason? Here are five reasons:

Derek Boogard – Dead at age 28.

Rick Rypien – Dead at age 27.

Wade Belak – Dead at age 35.

Steve Montador – Dead at age 35.

Todd Ewan – Dead at age 49.

With the stoppage in hockey and sports, now is the time for sweeping change to preserve the sport. We are in a global health pandemic, so why would we risk fist to fist fighting, why would we risk the health of players unnecessarily.

Very few young hockey players grow up saying they want to be like Nic Deslauriers or Austin Watson. Who? They are the NHL’s current NHL fight leader, and runner up respectively. Rather, young players want to be like Connor McDavid, Austin Matthews, or David Pastrnak.

The world has changed. It’s time hockey changes. We no longer need people bashing each others faces in, causing concussions, or promoting toxic masculinity and violence. That time is over.

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