Friday, September 2, 2011

The NHL Should Ban Fighting

The NHL should ban fighting.  I'm a typical Canadian in that I love hockey but I think there's no place for fighting at any level of hockey.  Recent Summer events seem to be supporting my opinion.  More on that later.

As a parent, I will think twice before taking my daughter to a hockey game.  Why?  My wife and teach our daughter that there's no place for violence or physical behavior.  What would I tell her if she saw two grown men beating the snot out of each other?

The truth is that I wouldn't have an answer.  the NHL needs to realize that many parents don't want to go to games to see fighting.  That is one reason the NHL ranks last compared to the other major sports in America.

Other major sports do have incidents of violence but that's infrequent and the players who are involved receive fines and suspensions.  The NHL hands down a 5 minute penalty for fighting.  That sends a message that the NHL loves and accepts goon behavior.  It's time that the NHL took action.


The NHL might need to do something sooner than later.  This summer has seen 3 deaths by former and current enforcers.  The first death was Derek Boogaard who died of an overdose from  prescription drugs (Fox Sports).   Recently Rick Rypien and Wade Belak were found dead of apparent suicides.


Other players have reported issues with depression.  I feel that the NHL needs to look into this issue seriously.  They need to see if their is a link between being in the head by punches and brain injuries.  Does the behavior of being an enforcer lead to depression?

Answers to these questions need to be answered before we see more deaths.  The issues is that the deaths from this summer were players who were asked to take on the enforcer and tough guy role.  By many accounts these players were soft spoken and quiet guys in their private lives.

Starting about 15 years ago, I started arguing that the NHL would regret the day it didn't stop fighting.  To be honest, at the time I was thinking about the money aspect of the game, since I thought the NHL would lose gate revenue form Americans who were tired of this practice.

Now I might be proven right some day because former and current players are taking their lives, suffer from depression and also suffer from drug abuse.

Some people argue that fighting in the NHL adds entertainment value to the sport.  Nonsense.  The best hockey in my opinion is the ice hockey event at the Olympics.  At the Olympics or other international ice hockey events, you don't see fighting, just quality hockey.  That's the way it should be.  I would like to see the NHL put their best players on the ice and leave the fighting and goon playing behind!

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