We Brought Up Fighting In Hockey, And The Toxic Men Came Calling

Rule number one to being a man – don’t mention the fact, or even an opinion, that fighting is not a needed or necessary part of hockey.

Learned it.


By publishing an article about now being a good time to ban fighting in hockey.

Very quickly, comments came in. One suggested I take up figure skating, another said I should play “tennis for some girls.”

Let your misogyny out much?

Then there were the deleted comments. One’s that couldn’t stay, because believe it or not, it would be nice if kids could read about sports safely. The one’s calling me “f&$%ing soft.” You know what, fair enough. I’ll take soft.

One saying I’d obviously never stepped foot on the ice.

Sometimes I wish I hadn’t.

Then there was the one who called me a “pussy.” (I apologize for even typing this word)

An interesting term for a misogynist to throw out there publicly.

Here’s an educational bit for you, Mr. Commenter.

When you use that word, you’re directly referencing a female body part, and correlating it to weakness. Your definition of someone who is not strong, or not tough, someone who is soft or weak – or heaven forbid, someone who doesn’t think there is a need for fighting, something that is a major penalty or more in every hockey league in the world…is a woman.

You’re directly using a term classifying women as your epitome of weakness, and relating any man who doesn’t immediately demonstrate a willingness to fight, or celebrate fighting, as weak, or womanlike.

It’s important to understand the words we use.

Pussy is also heavily used in a demeaning manner for boys and men to characterise them as weak, feeble or cowardly. It conveys the idea that the man in question is not masculine or daring enough in a given circumstance or due to his overall personality. (“He couldn’t do it, what a pussy!”)


A cowardly man is called a “pussy.” This use of pussy is obviously misogynistic, as it figuratively connects the vulva with weakness. 


You know what? You’re more than welcome to believe fighting belongs in sport, particularly hockey. No problem. I don’t believe that opinion makes you weak, nor do I believe it makes you strong.

After all, we’re talking about a game. A fun one, and an entertaining one. But one I think, and I was rationalizing, that does not need to put participants at an abject risk for concussions through something that is outside the rules of the very game. Fighting is a role relished by some, that has caused others to dive into addiction, and depression. Removing fighting removes these risks.

But, it’s just my opinion. As one commenter said after all, I’m just a “snowflake.” I thought that meant I was unique, but Google told me that it means I’m –

An overly sensitive or easily offended person, or one who believes they are entitled to special treatment on account of their supposedly unique characteristics. 


An interesting definition. I’ll take sensitive. Sensitivity is a good thing.

Things got really dark as I continued reading the comments, and saw someone suggest fighting was a great outlet for teenage Junior hockey players who are dealing with sexual and physical abuse in hockey.

Really though, through all of this, thank you. I learned so much about myself from your honest assessment of me as a person.

I hope when my daughter, or your daughter, or a young female athlete scrolls through our pages, they don’t see those words. I hope at some point we can discuss the issues in sport without vitriol. Even more, I hope when kids and young women go to the rink and someone doesn’t fight on demand, that they don’t hear you yelling those words at young men on the ice. That form of toxic masculinity does nothing for people.

To keep this neutral, let’s count the fights in the Stanley Cup final when hockey finally returns this year, and let’s see who wins the Conn Smythe. My guess is it won’t be a fighter, because if the team even employs one, they’ll likely be on the bench or in the press box.

After all, in 2018-2019 (the last full NHL season), there was a fight on average, once every 6-7 games, which of course shows fighting is necessary to safety and success, as was suggested.

Again, this is just my opinion, and you’re welcome to yours.

But if the only thing you back up your opinion with is insults and misogyny, then lucky for me, the only thing clearly being displayed, is another shining example of how hockey culture is broken, and needs to change.

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