It has always been known as “part of the game”, and it is shown in almost every highlight one will see, but would you believe fighting in hockey is truly a necessity? Hockey is played by players who possess speed, skill and knowledge of the game.
Other players play the game to help motivate their team by winning a fight, or applying a big hit.
This topic has been discussed within the NHL (National Hockey League) and the NHLPA (Players Association) since 1994, when fighting and blood were taken out of the video game made that same year. They thought this was bringing upon violence and poor sportsmanship. This was the only feature not carried on from NHL 93 as the logos, rules and all the other aspects of the game were retained. This game was named as “The absolute height of hockey video games”.
An article from ww.Boston.com named NHL 94 the greatest sports video game.
This all being said without the ability to fight, or witness any blood on the ice. This was mostly because of the new features including penalty shots, four-player support and reverse angle instant replays.
Fighting and blood was re-introduced back into NHL video games in 1996. With the advancements in technology and graphics over the last 12 years, fighting has become more of a focal point in these games. Check out this clip from a newer hockey video game, NHL 07.
New features to the fighting strategy include a button for a face punch, body punch and one for uppercut. Have you ever played this game? If so, and have been part of a fight, did you feel the fight was too graphic, or was it entertaining?
How about hockey fighting in the real world? The media continues to portray it and make it look as important as the game itself. Just watch highlights of a hockey game and you are bound to see a fight being shown in one of them. In some cases, a fight will be shown rather than a goal. 38.46% of NHL games included at least one fight during the 2007/2008 season, which is a big increase from only 29.02% in 2005/2006. A total of 473 fights took place this season.
No punishments are made to fights during the game; the players only receive a 5 minute penalty, unless a player instigates the fight therefore receiving 2 minutes more and a game misconduct. Is a 5 minute major penalty nearly enough? Most players who get into fights can afford to miss 5 minutes as they do not produce big numbers offensively.
Scott Morrison, the recipient of the Hockey Hall of Fameis 2006 Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award, has been covering hockey for 25 years. He believes fighting is in the game of hockey but there are obvious risks. One of them he mentions is if someone drops their gloves, there is always the risk of injury, but it has always been that way.
The three leading fighters this past season were Columbus Blue Jackets forward Jarrod Boll with 27, Philiadelphia Flyers forward Riley Cote with 24, and Anaheim Ducks forward George Parros with 23. Boll only recorded a total of 10 points, Cote a total of 5 points and Parros also a total of 5 points. All three players recorded more fights than points. Does this tell you something? These players are simply brought in to spark their team, or raise ticket prices by starting a fight. They clearly have little offensive ability and do not play the game of hockey due to their skill.
Check out this clip from a fight last year between Leafs forwad Kris Newbury and Penguins forward Ronald Petrovicky. After viewing this, does this not give you a chill, is this truly needed in hockey? (Hate to rip up on the Leafs, but have to say it really is not that hard..)
Or this one....sorry Leafs fans
Other fights like the following can be very entertaining, and as shown at the end, both teams benches, and the fans are cheering on the combatants.
There is no definite answer if hockey will still be popular if fighting were to be taken out of the game. Many fans watch it just to see two guys beating up on each other, as others watch it for the love of the game itself. Those who are die hard fans of the game will continue to watch it with or without fighting. Being a hockey fan or not, do you watch the game simply for the fights, or do you fully respect the sport of hockey?