Thursday, September 1, 2011

Should Fighting Be Banned In Hockey?

This has been a tragic summer for the National Hockey League as 3 "tough guys" who played in the league last season have died. It is starting to raise questions about the long term physical and emotional damage that the enforcer occupation can do to a human body. Today's poll question; should fighting be banned in hockey? I have always been a fan of the fisticuffs but I'm starting to wonder if I need to re-consider my position. Perhaps it is just an unfortunate coincidence that these 3 men have died this summer, or perhaps there is a correlation between years of repeated bare knuckle blows to the head and an early grave. Should I have a guilty conscious because I cheer for these players and I applaud what they do as the modern day gladiators they are?

Darryl Boogaard died by mixing alcohol with prescription pain killers while recovering from a serious concussion. Rick Rypien and Wade Belak committed suicide. One thing all these players had in common was that they fought, and fought a lot. Fighting legend Bob Probert, one of my favourite players of all-time, died at the age of 45 and his family donated his brain to science. The researchers found evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. According to wikipedia:

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive degenerative disease found in individuals who have been subjected to multiple concussions and other forms of head injury. A variant of the condition, dementia pugilistica, is primarily associated with boxing. CTE has been most commonly found in professional athletes participating in gridiron football, ice hockey, professional wrestling and other contact sports, who have experienced head trauma, resulting in characteristic degeneration of brain tissue and the accumulation of tau protein. Individuals with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy may show symptoms of dementia such as memory loss, aggression, confusion and depression which may appear within months of the trauma or many decades later.

Should fighting be banned?


  1. No! Canada has 2 national sports, both use sticks and, both have fighting. Instead of hitting someone with you're stick, you drop it and your gloves and settle it, the gentlemens rule. Fighting was much more prevalent back in the day and everyone had to stick up for themselves, even the star players had to fight sometimes. I could be wrong but I've never heard of Dave (the hammer) Schultz or Clark Gillies or Dave (cement head) Semenko committing suicide. I'm not a big fan of the "goon", type of player, but I've always enjoyed the fighting aspect of the game, for everyone. Keeping everyone honest. IMO, the fighting part of the game says a lot about are history as a nation and who we are as a people, I hate the pussifying! If hockey is too tough, then don't play, or have a separate league. God bless Rypien and Belak, they had big hearts, but they also had other emotional and psychological problems.

  2. Its the only professional team sport that still encourages, allows and tolerates fighting. Of course it should be banned, because it isn't playing hockey. To play hockey you wear protective equipment, gloves and helmets included, when a player removes these items he is clearly no longer playing hockey is he? The only reson to remove these items on the ice in a confrontation is with the intent to do harm. That is a chargable offence and is assault.
    Hockey is played with protective equipment because it is a contact sport and the players are protected from most harm. Fighting adds nothing to the game, doesn't score goals. If a coach wants to use this as ameans to rally his team then he has basically failed as a coach.

  3. Life is not "safe".

    and all the rules and regulations won't make it safe.

    When we recognize the danger of anything, it is fine to inform people of the danger.

    In this case, the danger of participating in sports where one could suffer CTE.

    But never take away the right of one to participate in that sport.

    Fighting is a part of hockey. Take away fighting and you eliminate the need for hockey enforcers. Big tough guys have lost their ability to compete and make a living doing what they are best at.

    Protecting them? You have eliminated their livelihood.

    The well intentioned consequence of taking fighting out of hockey has the unintended consequence of taking away a man's livelihood.

    They won't thank you for that.

    Survivor-ship bias is alive and well.

  4. "... has the unintended consequence of taking away a man's livelihood"
    most ridiculous reason ever.
    perhaps we should make running "a part of the game" so that those we create a livelihood for those who can't skate

  5. fighting is too legit to quit

  6. fighting is an essential part of the game. It rallies players and pumps up the team. It's the players choice whether or not to fight. let fighting stay in the game