To Fight or not To Fight
The debate that will never end
Fighting has been a part of the NHL game since day one and many fans, like myself, do get excited to watch guys drop the gloves. After two terrible, non-NHL incidents in recent weeks to players during hockey fights, the NHL has been discussing the idea of banning fighting. This debate has been in the works for awhile now but the result will be the same; fighting is staying.
The main issue is obviously the safety of all players. Many people claim that fighting is too dangerous and that it is the key aspect of the game where players get seriously hurt. The passing of Don Sanderson and the scary seizure suffered by Garrett Klotz after those hockey fights are very tragic, sad and horrible times for their families but these scenarios are very rare. If fighting is taken out of hockey mainly because of these two incidents then more debates will emerge.
Tragedy in a fight is as uncommon as taking a slap shot in the neck with a puck or being slashed by a skate in the throat. Players are grown adults and are fully aware of what bad things can happen. In these cases, players know what may happen if they don’t where a neck guard during the game. The same is to be said for fighting; players are aware of the danger if you choose to fight.
Think of all the concussions that have been caused from an open-ice body check, high elbows or hitting from behind. I guess the league now has to eliminate all body contact. Is fighting responsible for breaking hands with a slash, crosschecking players in the face or for the famous knee-on-knee injuries? No, but this shows that the natural game of hockey causes many more injuries than fighting itself.
The first thing Klotz said once he was released from the hospital was that he still believes that fighting should not be removed from hockey, period. A majority of NHL players, fans and coaches would also agree that fighting is actually a way to protect players from other major injuries.
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"If you take fighting out of the game, you eliminate the players' ability to regulate the violence in the game. That's what fighting does.” Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke told the Toronto Star. “Fighting to me is the self-policing mechanism in the game to prevent the head shots, the hits from behind, and I will never vote to have it eliminated."
Even Commissioner Gary Bettman has already admitted that he has no intension to eliminate fighting completely from the game but he looking for ways to make it safer. One idea is to enforce that helmets must be worn during the fight and stops immediately once a helmet falls on the ice. Other ideas are things like 5-10 game suspensions, more expensive fines and of course, changing the instigator rule.
Either way, none of these ideas involve removing fighting from the league entirely. Love it or hate it, stop wasting your time and get used to it, fighting is staying in the NHL.
By: Kevin Chaves
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer