This question has been asked a million times! Answers are all over the map, some see it as unnecessary violence, others as a bad influence on young hockey players, and that there's no place in our game. We are here to say that these people are wrong. Hockey is the purest sport on earth and the NHL is the most balanced league in the world. Making the Stanley Cup the toughest trophy to win on the planet. In order of it to stay that way, we have to embrace fighting as a natural part of the sport. Fighting in hockey has several purposes:
- Keeps players accountable for their actions
- Allows teams to defend their star and goalies
- Turn the tide in a game that’s not going your way
“We are here to say that these people are wrong”
Hockey is a rough sport, every time you step on the ice you’re ready for a battle. However, hockey players know that there’s unwritten rules in hockey, things you don't do. Cheap shots, going after the goalie, shooting pucks into the other team’s bench etc. and if you cross these rules sooner or later (more often sooner) someone is going to put you in your place. Yes, I mean a fight. This keeps the game real, pure, and fair because players know that when they give cheap shots they have to fear more than just the refs. Not only that, we believe it makes the game safe for everyone...have you seen old time hockey?
Fighting in Hockey doesn't just help keep the game pure but has also historically been a key tool in protecting both your superstar players as well as your goalies. Say you’re playing vs the Pittsburgh penguins it would be very convenient if you could send one of your tough guys to hit, rough up, and even injure Crosby their best player. Thanks to the fighting rules in hockey, Crosby has some very big guys who would not hesitate to rough you up if you so much as slash him. This also goes for goaltenders, I repeat do not touch the goaltender.
Furthermore, a good fight at the right moment in a game can change the flow in your team’s favor and help you win a game after all hope is lost. Let’s look at this season when the Bruins played Tampa, Marchand was running around recklessly going after star players like Tyler Johnson and Filpula. Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos (who's a star player himself) had enough and did what needed to be done, the tampa captain stepped up and fought Marchand, sending a message to the Bruins while pumping his own team up. The result was they went from a 1-1 tie to a 3-1 lead in under a minute after the fight. This is just one example of how a good fight can change the tide of a close game.
In closing being allowed to hold each other accountable in the game of hockey, protecting your teammates, and it’s strategic value prove that fighting is a pivotal part of the sport of hockey. We believe the league has done a great job of controlling it and making it safer, if it goes away the sport will only suffer because of it. Having said that it is important to remember that hockey is about respect and sportsmanship. Wanting to injure another player should never be the goal of a fight, a good fight is between to players that show mutual respect for each other and for the sport of hockey.