It is the hot topic debate that will not go away, fighting in hockey, does it have a place in the game?
With the tragic death of Don Sanderson of the Whitby Dunlops from a head injury he sustained in a fight, the debate has been front and centre on sports talk radio, t.v., and across the Internet.
Do hockey fights serve a purpose? Come playoff time you rarely see them, since getting penalized for the fisticuffs can really hurt your team. However, during the regular season, staged and spontaneous fights can happen anytime.
Legislating fighting out of hockey would be tough to do. Hockey is a unique game, it is explosive, fast and the potential for hard physical contact is at every turn. When you have highly trained athletes buzzing about under these circumstances, wearing warrior-like equipment, in a small enclosed area, tempers will blow.
The staged fight between “goons” and “heavyweights” can be eliminated with heavy suspensions, forget the fines. It really has no place and its true effects on the respective teams are questionable at best. Does the team of the player who loses the fight always lose the game too?
Having played various organized sports and thanks to genetics, size and a personal code for protecting those closest to me, even on a team, I have found myself using physical force to right wrongs and dish out so-called “justice”, whether it was through hard hits, trash talking and yes, fights, all in the sporting arena of course!
Now, amp this up to the professional level where players have a media circus about them, compete for jobs, make millions and their net worth and success is determined by wins and losses in front of thousands of fans, the formula is even stronger for fighting to occur. It does not make it right but it does happen and is part of the game.
What hockey should really concentrate on is eliminating head shots. If they can come down hard in this area, guess what else may decline as well, yes, you got it, fighting.