Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/3/2009 (4612 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
WE asked you Wednesday to give us your opinions on the raging debate over whether fighting should be banned from hockey and the majority who responded seem to support eliminating fisticuffs. Your responses are below. But first, a bit of a primer.
Fighting in hockey has always been a contentious issue but in the wake of the death this season of senior hockey player Don Sanderson, the most recent surveys and mood across Canada seem to suggest more of a backlash than usual against hockey combativeness.
A poll conducted during the NHL all-star weekend in Montreal found that 54 per cent of respondents want fighting banned, slightly up from 2007. Another recent poll said while 68 per cent of hockey fans want fighting retained, overall, most Canadians want it tossed.
And last month at a symposium in London, Ont., parents, coaches and officials banded together to denounce fighting and said it should be banned at all levels of the game. Proponents of fighting say who cares what non-fans think -- if the most avid fans want fighting retained, it should be.
Dennis Faulkner, suspension chairman for the Manitoba Major Junior Hockey League, wrote Wednesday to say his league has had rules in place since 1989 that he believes curtail fighting.
When players in that league fight, they're assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct. Those that remove their helmet to fight also receivie a gross misconduct, which carries an automatic one-game suspension. After their third fight in a season, players are suspended a game for every fight they engage in.
Here's a selection of what you had to say (edited for length):
The instances of fight-related injuries and now death has risen to ridiculous levels in recent years (Don Sanderson, Steve Moore, Mike Knuble). I believe if drastic measures aren't taken by the NHL and (Hockey Canada) to curb fighting... we will see even uglier scenes in the future.
-- Garth Lancaster
As a younger man, I enjoyed the fights. As a father of a 20-year-old hockey player, I hate them. They should be banned and it is the only way the sport will get respect. Example -- Olympic hockey.
-- Barrie Nelson
As IllegalCurve.com's correspondent from Corporate America, I see a clear cause of the rise in fighting this season: the players have lost a lot of money in the stock market and they're angry. But unlike the rest of us, they're allowed to blow off some of that steam by beating someone up at work without getting into trouble for more than five minutes.
Who else among us wouldn't want to do the same and channel their own inner Shawn Cronin if we could?
-- Steve Werier, Illegal Curve contributor, New York City
Please do everything to stop the fighting in hockey. Hockey is a game of many skills but not in brutality.
That is a savage mentality. We strongly disagree with Don Cherry on this.
-- John R. Friesen
Take away the hitting/fighting and it is replaced with spearing, slashing, tripping and the like. A good, clean hit will rarely cause serious injury, but a stick to the face is a trip for stitches. Let the game be played the way it was meant to be, generally the only guys scrapping are the ones that are being paid to do just that.
1) Fighting on skates is a waste of time and leaves participants temporarily spent.
2) Some of the best hockey we see is in the world championships and the Olympics, where fighting is not permitted.
---- Peter Macdonald
There is no good reason to allow fighting in any sport, including hockey, at any level. We hear phony excuses. Sports are to teach discipline and good conduct. Is this not what we teach in school? Fighting is violence; physical assault is illegal. Athletes must learn to control their temper.
-- Vic Wieler
Fighting should stay. It helps ensure that players are responsible for their actions and it makes the game more entertaining and gives it differentiation from the other major team sports.
-- Gerry Cantin
I am an octogenarian, hockey fan for 75 years. I enjoyed hockey for most of my life. In the last few years I have stopped watching because all I see is fighting. It is disgusting to see two men out there hammering each other until the blood flows in many cases.
-- Marcel Verdonck
Usually people that want fights banned are sportswriters that have never played the game but think they know what's best for it or people that don't even watch the sport. Throw the guy out of the game for fighting but leave fighting in the game.
-- Doug Ross
This paper is condoning this violence by publishing these fights in photos that sometimes take up nearly a third of a page. Your photographer takes many shots during a game, so why publish two guys bashing each others brains out? Don't you realize that children also read this paper and emulate some of these goons?
-- Walter Schurko
Money, it's all about money. It sells tickets. If management wants it to stop then they must stop the money. For each game, one fight $500, second fight $1,000 and $500 increments for each player involved. Plus the coaches must pay a fine for each fight. Stop the money and the fights will stop.
-- David Burnett
It spoils any sport by putting the focus on injuring the best players of the opposing team. It exists because team management supports its use and the players who use it. It will only be stopped by those leagues who ban its deliberate use, fire players who continue to use it and administer rapidly escalating fines against those coaches and team managers who continue to tolerate its deliberate use.
-- Don Meadows
Fighting is not tolerated in any other sport but no other sport is played at the accelerated pace hockey is. Hockey is not a violent sport but a sport with an element of violence because of its volatile nature. Combine that with the fact that it is played with a potential weapon in hand and you will see why fighting at this level is and should remain a part of the game.
The stickwork we already see -- cross-checking, especially from behind, taking one's feet out from under their opponent and much worse -- will only increase if fighting is banned.
-- Steve Schwartz
Ban fighting in hockey. We invented the game and we make the rules. No more sorry excuse that violence is part of the game. Fighting in hockey happens only because we allow it.
-- Albert Chan