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Poll: Hardcore fans like fighting, people who dislike hockey don’t

May 24, 2012, 3:10 PM EDT

The results are hardly groundbreaking, but yet another poll of Canadians on the topic of hockey – (Fun fact: 75% of polls in Canada are hockey-related, 20% involve politics and social issues, and 5% ask respondents if they think Americans are rude.) – shows support for a ban on fighting is directly related to a person’s level of interest in the game.

Chart courtesy the Globe and Mail:


Again, no surprise there. Fighting has always had the strongest support from hardcore fans, not to mention those closely involved in the game (players, coaches, GMs, people with the last name Bettman).

What I’d be curious to know is how many Canadians that dislike hockey would become fans if fighting were banned. My gut says not many.

On a lesser note, I’d like to know why 12% of respondents who dislike hockey were strongly opposed to a ban on fighting. It just seems weird they’d be “strongly” opposed. Maybe they’re worried hooligans would lose interest in hockey and start running around the library spray-painting books all day?

Anyway, the Environics poll also sought opinions about player safety and this year’s playoffs. Full chart here.

  1. blkeskimo1785 - May 24, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    I was watching a Memorial Cup game the other night, Shawnigan and Saint John. In the few minutes I watched, there were a good handful of cheap shots and crosschecks that came up pretty high. My first reaction was that those cheap shots could have been quelled with a fight. I think the majority of hockey fans know and understand that fighting is a necessary evil of the sport, but there will always be naysayers.

    • mydadyourmom - May 24, 2012 at 6:24 PM

      that doesn’t make sense since fighting is allowed in the Memorial Cup.

  2. comeonnowguys - May 24, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    You know what’s the biggest surprise?

    Poll: Hardcore fans like fighting, people who dislike hockey don’t — Dog bites man.
    Poll 38% of hardcore fans at least “somewhat support” fighting ban — Man bites dog

  3. michiganhockey11 - May 24, 2012 at 4:21 PM

    I wonder how many Canadians that don’t like hockey would become fans if a team from their country would actually win the cup?

  4. teaspoon1731 - May 24, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    I’m mostly surprised to learn that there are Canadians that don’t like hockey

    • hystoracle - May 25, 2012 at 9:58 AM

      I didn’t know Canadians were allowed to not like hockey. Isn’t it a civic duty or something?

  5. wethog66 - May 24, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    Football is my favorite sport, with Hockey a close 2nd, so I wouldn’t label myself a harcore fan, but I could go either way on fighting in the NHL. As a previous poster said, fighting has a place because it is suppose to keep cheap shots to a minimum.

    But these days, with the enforcer position not what it once was, head shots and cheap shots are on the rise. And when there is a fight, its usually in retaliation of a perfectly legal, hard, hit.

    Fighting in todays NHL just seems out of place and dated to me now. Bring the red line back in play to slow the game down so enforcers can make a come back and the need for someone like Shanahan will disappear.

    • comeonnowguys - May 24, 2012 at 5:36 PM

      I’m in the “eliminate the reasons for it, and it *should* go away naturally” camp.

      Does someone have any statistics on fighting and injuries with and without the instigator rule? The instigator rule often seems like a double-whammy on the team that just got cheap-shotted and line of protection for the guy that’s doing the asshattery.

      • hystoracle - May 25, 2012 at 10:03 AM

        I think the instigator rule is here to stay. The lack of respect for fellow players I see on the ice would get worse without the instigator rule.. The stars would become targets. Go start a fight with them and take them off the ice for 5+ minutes. Would be the only effective way to keep guys like Stamkos, Malkin, etc. from hurting your team.

        I see the logic in removing but i think the actual consequence would be different than what is expected. Which is usually the case with seemingly simple changes.

      • comeonnowguys - May 28, 2012 at 1:47 PM

        Makes sense. Plus it worked really well in NHL 10! :)

  6. Paul Busch - May 24, 2012 at 9:45 PM

    Pretty superficial report on the survey, more of it can ge found here. You neglected to mention that 48% of huge hockey fans would support a ban on fighting. Yes they stand up and cheer but almost half would support eliminating it from the game.

    Fighting serves no purpose in hockey. It does not police the game, that’s a myth. I have stats and studies on my blog that demonstrate that –

  7. nicknyhc - May 24, 2012 at 11:17 PM

    I think the NFL should ban tackling…it would cut down on injuries.

  8. lsxphotog - May 25, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    I tend not to listen to anyone’s opinions if they don’t like or watch hockey – especially if the topic is hockey.

    I’ve played since I was 3 years old. I started in a hitting league as soon as I possibly could. When I got into high school, I began to fight here and there and I really enjoyed being able to put people in their place when they ran their mouth. It’s good for the fans to see the players out there battling, especially when you’re down in the third at home and looking to capture back momentum on the bench and from the stands.

    So, it’s because of this, if you don’t play or haven’t played hockey, STFU. Seriously just STFU and stop trying to change a game that you don’t know about or love. I don’t care if you don’t want to watch it because it’s too violent. There are plenty of other lame things you can watch without you ruining our sport that we dedicate our lives to and go to bed dreaming about. I’m already mad about not being able to skate out icing in my leagues because of concerned parents.

    There is no solution to making hockey safe without turning it into something terrible, but it can be made safer. The league needs to hold a mandatory clinic at the beginning of each season to teach players how to hit – set a standard of what’s acceptable and what’s not so they can help clarify whats worthy of disciplinary action. There are a lot of players coming into the league from various backgrounds who are not capable of throwing clean hits and even some veterans who are guilty. Out on the ice, things happen fast. But, this could certainly help put examples in the players head of when they should and shouldn’t throw a hit and how to do so properly when they’re in the heat of the moment.

    So yeah, I don’t care about hockey opinions from someone who doesn’t eat, sleep, and breathe hockey. haha

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