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Report: NHLPA director Fehr wants to address issue of fighting

May 22, 2013, 9:02 PM EDT

Zac Rinaldo #36 of the Philadelphia Flyers and B.J. Crombeen #19 of the Tampa Bay Lightning fight in the first period on February 5, 2013 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
(February 4, 2013 - Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

Fighting in the NHL has always been the subject of criticism within some circles, but it has nevertheless remained a part of the game. NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr might want to change that, based on a CBC/Radio-Canada report.

Recently, he’s been meeting with players on the issue and brought it up in an April 25 meeting with agents.

Please note that all quotes were originally in French and have been put through Google Translate.

“Nothing concrete has been announced to us, but I felt that Fehr was motivated by a genuine desire to address the issue of fighting,” said agent Robert SauvĂ©.

Former NHL player Gilles Lupien, who isn’t happy about the state of violence in hockey, was also in attendance.

“Fehr told us he was trying to understand the dynamics of fights and he was struggling to understand an athlete can get to defeat another or to injure him in the course of a game. It is a culture that has not known when was working in other sports,” Lupien explained.

Lupien wants to see coaches pushed for their players fights, believing that will address the problem.

Meanwhile Sauvé dismissed the argument that reducing fighting might hurt interest in the NHL.

“Look what’s happening in the QMJHL. Some measures have been taken in recent years to reduce the number of fights. There never was so little, and the audience have never been higher!”

116 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. steelers88 - May 22, 2013 at 9:21 PM

    Not this guy AGAIN!

  2. jacketsfan7 - May 22, 2013 at 9:32 PM

    I love the game , fighting is not nessassary but it has helped teams! Max talbot game 6 fought Dan carcillo and the pens came from 3-0 down to win 5-3 , and the NY islanders won game 2 after Kyle okposo got into a fought and won the game on 4-3

    • pudgalvin - May 23, 2013 at 4:42 PM

      How many goals were they awarded for winning the fight?

      • malkamania71 - May 23, 2013 at 5:38 PM

        If you really dont think fighting has helped teams in the past then you have clearly never watched a hockey game before

      • scoocha - May 27, 2013 at 6:53 PM

        PudG = so good.
        Malka = so bad.

  3. buffalo65 - May 22, 2013 at 9:34 PM

    Here here, stop the stupidity. Time to phase out fighting.

    • President Charles Logan - May 22, 2013 at 10:33 PM

      only a loser from buffalo who was obviously born with a vagina would make such an absurd statement

    • hockeywithdrawal - May 23, 2013 at 8:25 AM

      Hold up their cowboy…Buffalo just signed Scott to another year..that’d be an awful waste of money if there was no fighting

      • hockeywithdrawal - May 23, 2013 at 8:25 AM

        *there

  4. buffalo65 - May 22, 2013 at 9:35 PM

    The only sport where it is acceptable to beat your opponent up if you are losing. Someone please explain how this is right??

    • dtownbeatdown - May 22, 2013 at 9:43 PM

      Grow some stones. It heightens the entertainment value. It can give a team that is down momentum, it has been part of the game forever, changing it would put off real hockey fans. Having a goon out there I always thought was helpful to keep the other team true, just now the goons are actually talented too. If you don’t like fighting, but enjoy competition on the ice there is always curling, or figure skating you can check out.

      • valoisvipers - May 23, 2013 at 10:53 AM

        Um, Olympic hockey has no fighting and that seems to be making for some good games.
        Look, I don’t mind a fight in the heat of the action between two willing combatants but the staged fights and fights after a big hit should be heavily penalized until they are fazed out of the game by the players and coaches themselves.

      • hazlydose - May 23, 2013 at 3:50 PM

        There is no fighting in Olympic hockey for a reason. There is so much skill on the ice that fighting doesn’t need to take place. There aren’t fourth liners who are border-line guys out there trying to take someone’s head off. NHL teams are nowhere near as deep as Olympic teams.

    • blackhawksdynasty - May 22, 2013 at 10:42 PM

      True hockey fans (“fan” being short for “fanatic”) embrace fighting as a part of the game’s culture. Hockey has always been a violent sport. It’s just how the game is played. The sport involves hitting (amongst other things) and ultimately requires ridiculous toughness. Fighting is used as a motivation tool to gain momentum and as a method of protection for teammates. I understand there are sometimes pointless fights. And I don’t agree with a player being almost forced to drop the gloves after delivering a big, clean hit. However, it is an important part of hockey. Anybody that doesn’t appreciate what fighting brings to our sport can take a hike.

      • mp1131211 - May 23, 2013 at 2:08 AM

        Wow- true hockey fans have rules on why they like and don’t like, huh? I kind of thought true hockey fans would be defined by their true enjoyment of watching a hockey game. Guess I’ve been wrong this whole time

      • hockeyflow33 - May 23, 2013 at 2:55 AM

        Because you don’t know what hockey game is apparently. Show me a time when fighting hasn’t been part of the sport

      • mp1131211 - May 23, 2013 at 3:03 AM

        Well, as someone keeps bringing up over and over here: playoff hockey has a lot less fighting. So does Olympic hockey.

        I’m actually not one of those arguing that it isn’t part of the game because I think it currently has a place, even if its an out dated place. But the point is that people like hockey for different reasons and its just asinine to insist that hockey fanatics by definition must like fights.

      • mp1131211 - May 23, 2013 at 3:05 AM

        Also, if your going to speak of “the sport”, I assume you mean the game of honey and not the NHL. If that’s the case, fighting is a minimal part of the game in most other markets.

      • mp1131211 - May 23, 2013 at 3:24 AM

        By the way, blackhawkdynasty- your fall apart hawks are about to be dismantled by a team that by and large does not fight anymore. Ha! Awesome!

    • nothanksimdriving123 - May 22, 2013 at 11:01 PM

      dtown, half your comment is insults, which is pathetic. As for your actual arguments, yes, fighting has always been part of the sport, but the current nonsense of appointment fights by designated tough guys is pretty recent. I’ve been a fan for 50+ years and in the Old 6 days even most of the superstars fought sometimes, out of anger and frustration mostly, born of playing each other 14 times a year and desperately needing playoff bonuses to bolster $9,000 salaries. There is zero evidence, only surmising, that fights prevent stars from being injured. Stars get injured despite all the fights. It does rouse crowds. That is the only argument for allowing them: people enjoy them. They enjoy them even though fighters get injured, even though there is some evidence that it shortens the lives of the men who were guided by coaches from being regular players to being fighters in order to get the big paycheck. Perhaps some of you fight lovers would drop hockey and go to cage fighting if it were banned. Most would grumble but stay to enjoy the beauty of the sport, you know, the boring crap that wins games, like scoring. And many new fans would show up. Now, enjoy down-thumbing, but if all you have is insults, well, knock yourself out.

      • dtownbeatdown - May 23, 2013 at 1:00 AM

        You complain about me posting “insulting” posts, but then you call me pathetic, and say all I have are insults…. So what are you doing then?

        If you have watched the game for “50+ years” then you should know this is very much part of the game. I am not sure if you are a man, or if you have played the game, and maybe you don’t have a whole lot of testosterone these days due to age. (insult) But anyone that has played the game knows it can be frustrating as hell, other guys can get under your skin, or vice versa, and I for one would rather get in a quick hockey fight and get the tension out then let it build and get a hockey stick to the back of the legs or lower back. Thats just me, but hockey being a constant physical game you are going to get pissed sometimes, and let nature take it course. That is beautiful to me.

        As well as that, you have a tough guy at your blue line, your finess players are not dont have so much finess anymore with an enforcer around, got to keep your head up when those guys are around. I understand taking enforcers out will make the game even faster, more european, maybe even less injuries. But to me that just is not the hockey I was raised on, so I disagree with you. But it is just my opinion. You said many new fans will show up, at the same rate a lot of old fans would leave as well. Never said the game was boring without fighting either, just said it is part of the game. I wouldn’t be one of the fans to stop watching it due to lack of fighting, but I sure as hell would miss it.

      • atwatercrushesokoye - May 23, 2013 at 1:06 AM

        What’s funny is people say its a part of the game, blah blah blah but the best hockey in the world (the Olympics) includes absolutely zero fighting. And the best time of year for the NHL (the playoffs) includes very little fighting.

        The straw man arguement is that if you took fighting out people would be running around slashing, and spearing and high sticking each other without fear, but there’s zero evidence that would ever happen (there isn’t a lot of fighting in the European leagues and there’s none of the stick work going on) but just in case the NHL should also roll in drastic suspensions for people that do commit those acts.

      • nothanksimdriving123 - May 23, 2013 at 3:37 AM

        dtown, if you’d read my comment carefully, you would have understood that I did not insult you, I said your use of insults was pathetic. And I did play hockey, outdoors too, and officiated, and my testosterone is fine, thanks for your heartfelt concern.
        So, how is it possible that football has at least as much contact, bodies smashing each other all over the damn place, but does quite well despite banishing any players who fight? Basketball also has more than a little body slamming, but also bans fighting.

      • valoisvipers - May 23, 2013 at 10:58 AM

        Great post NothanksI’mDriving123 I’m from your era and couldn’t agree more.

      • blackhawksdynasty - May 27, 2013 at 1:44 PM

        Back to the nursing home for you, old man. Dementia has obviously set in.

    • tycobbfromfangraphs - May 23, 2013 at 12:00 AM

      Play hockey you will find out. It’s much better than resorting to stickwork

  5. tampabayirish - May 22, 2013 at 9:36 PM

    Why would Donald Fehr care so much about fighting in hockey? It’s part of the game. It’s not a big part of the game. But it is part of the NHL game. Hockey fights result in very few serious injuries. The fights are almost always “fair fights.” For the most part, tough guys fight other tough guys. So it’s not really a safety issue. Now, if he was suggesting of getting rid of the dreaded “instigator rule” or training referees to call more “unsportsmen like conduct/diving penalties or getting the sticks down a bit…then I might listen.

    • mp1131211 - May 23, 2013 at 2:02 AM

      You can argue it’s “part of hockey” or whatever, ad you might have at least a small slice of ground to stand on, but to argue that it isn’t a safety issue is just flat out wrong and completely ignores the large volume of mounting scientific evidence that shows the serious health consequences of repeated head trauma.

      They aren’t aiming to punch each other in the gut.

      • hockeyflow33 - May 23, 2013 at 2:58 AM

        Checking causes far more head trauma than fighting, should we ban contact as well?

      • mp1131211 - May 23, 2013 at 3:00 AM

        No… Legal checking adults does not. Boarding does. It’s illegal. Head shots do. That’s illegal.

    • sw19womble - May 23, 2013 at 8:05 AM

      Couldn’t agree more. The instigator penalty creates even more aggravation and has actually allowed diving and unsportsmanlike stuff to creep in.
      Fehr better wake up and learn the complexities of the game quickly.

  6. graymalkin26 - May 22, 2013 at 9:40 PM

    You Americans don’t know what your talking bout, go invade another country.

    • esracerx46 - May 22, 2013 at 10:02 PM

      I think were all a little unclear as to what you’re talking aboot ehh.

      • blackhawksdynasty - May 22, 2013 at 10:54 PM

        LMFAO

    • President Charles Logan - May 22, 2013 at 10:35 PM

      can-uh-duh (aka america’s hat) and it’s weak military can thank the US for protecting it , of course who would ever wanna go to war with such a weak minded and weak governed country.. it would be pointless..

      • tuberippin - May 23, 2013 at 6:34 PM

        Other than the War of 1812. You know, that little battle where the Canadian/British forces captured Washington D.C. and burned down the White House.

        But yeah. What a weak army!

    • ironman721 - May 22, 2013 at 10:57 PM

      We could invade Canada but nobody would even notice.

      • nothanksimdriving123 - May 22, 2013 at 11:05 PM

        iron, actually, the US tried in the War of 1812, but failed and went home.

      • tycobbfromfangraphs - May 23, 2013 at 12:03 AM

        You struggle hold a small country full of dessert and mountains. But you’re going to try it with a country full of trees and mountains, and cities, vs an enemy that looks just like you?

        Something worse than Nam inc.

      • atwatercrushesokoye - May 23, 2013 at 1:28 AM

        Finally a well thought out arguement…
        From what I hear your Chinese bankers want you guys to make a few good faith payments on your last war before they’ll lend you the money to start another one.

      • taintedlombardis - May 23, 2013 at 1:34 AM

        Struggle? The war was over in days. Now the US is occupying. A tough task, when all there is to guard is dirt…and rocks…and more dirt. What is the US doing over there again?

      • ironman721 - May 23, 2013 at 6:13 AM

        War of 1812? Haha! That was a war with England. Canada was just along for the ride. Do the red coats still own you? If we want anything from Canada we just take it. Gretzky, Mario, Crosby, beer,…you get the idea. Seriously though, I love Canada, people are nice,everything is clean, you love hockey, and a lot of hot girls!

      • valoisvipers - May 23, 2013 at 11:04 AM

        ironman721 Canada once took over and occupied The White House. What do you think about that?

      • ironman721 - May 23, 2013 at 3:46 PM

        Well viper I think you are wrong. The British Empire attacked the White House, not Canada. Just cause they owned you doesn’t mean you did it. Don’t take credit for what the Brits did. Who teaches history in Canada? Don Cherry? History is not your thing. Stick to Hockey and beer.

      • tuberippin - May 23, 2013 at 6:40 PM

        Canada did not exist as it stands now. It was a nation controlled by the British (British Canada, the precursor to the Dominion of Canada).

        That said, territorially and militarily it was tantamount to modern Canada. Moreover, it was in large part the continued threats throughout the 19th century by Americans who desired to invade Canada and acquire new territory during the Manifest Destiny madness that persuaded the Canadians to confederate in 1867. So, not only was Canada (as a vassal of Great Britain) directly involved in the War of 1812, the tensions between the USA and British Canada led to the establishment of the Dominion of Canada itself. Feel fry to distort facts, but that’s the reality of it.

        But hey, what would I know? I’m just a man with a degree in history.

  7. Jeff - May 22, 2013 at 9:48 PM

    He should propose a strike unless there’s more fighting or no fighting.

  8. slammed81 - May 22, 2013 at 9:54 PM

    Oh yea take it out!! The cheap shots will stop too oh wait… People who say take it out are stupid…. Think about it people

    • atwatercrushesokoye - May 23, 2013 at 1:18 AM

      Yeah cause cheap shots are being controlled oh so well with fighting in the game…oh wait. The way to get cheap shots out is by suspensions and fines (not a game here or a game there but 5 games here, 10 games there) not some player having to “answer the bell” based on the code. How many times has Matt Cooke fought? What about Raffi Torres? How many times did Claude Lemeiux fight? Yeah fighting really helps keep the game clean.

      And as far as “fighting being a part of the game forever” as some argue, slavery was a part of the US for a long time, goalies played without masks, players without helmets, concussions were referred to as “getting your bell rung” and you were urged to shake it off and get back out there, the point is just because something has been accepted for a long time doesn’t continually make it right, times change, things evolve.

  9. loinstache - May 22, 2013 at 9:59 PM

    Canadians are polite people who don’t like war but use hockey as an excellent outlet for passion and testosterone. Don’t let the growing ‘politically correctness’ nature of North America seep into our culture

    • blackhawksdynasty - May 22, 2013 at 10:46 PM

      Gotta give u a thumbs up for that. God bless the USA, but this PC crap is embarrassing.

    • tuberippin - May 23, 2013 at 6:51 PM

      And it’s a hell of a way to do it, too. Keep fighting in hockey!

  10. esracerx46 - May 22, 2013 at 10:00 PM

    I find it odd that the PA president is interested in reducing fighting. Their are at least 30 guys in the league where that’s really the only thing they’re good at. Do you think those players want fighting gone? No! They’d be out of a job. Isn’t it Fehr’s job to make sure the people he represents are employed and making a fair wage? Or has he gone insane with power???? Again… At the end of the day, it takes at least 2 players to fight. So, just so everyone is clear. 2 players have to WANT to fight in order to fight. Fehr’s stance might not be taken well with a guy like John Scott, and I don’t think I want to get in an argument with him.

    • jernster21 - May 22, 2013 at 10:25 PM

      Hockey is part of a game and should stay that way, don’t get me wrong. But take the lock out as an example that all the highest paid players and those who want to make big money are the majority – not the guys who drop the gloves to earn a living.

    • hockeyflow33 - May 22, 2013 at 10:31 PM

      He’s never played hockey in his life, why allow him to shape the game?

      • esracerx46 - May 22, 2013 at 11:51 PM

        Can’t you say the same thing about Bettman?

      • hockeyflow33 - May 23, 2013 at 2:08 AM

        Yup, he’s a basketball guy. I just assume everyone already knows he sucks

  11. Stiller43 - May 22, 2013 at 10:04 PM

    Keep the fighting!

  12. evilglazers666 - May 22, 2013 at 10:06 PM

    Oh no! Fighting is the most exciting part! Could alienate most hockey fans!

  13. alicesrightfootesq - May 22, 2013 at 10:06 PM

    Good riddance.

  14. sjsharks66 - May 22, 2013 at 10:11 PM

    Why is it a big deal to get rid of fighting? If people wont watch hockey because it is “too violent” then they need to stick to the MLB/NBA/SOCCER.

    Why take out something die hard NHL supporters enjoy. The league should just be happy the sport is still around after what Bettman has put it through.

  15. myroncopesflask - May 22, 2013 at 10:20 PM

    If the nhl ever really wants to compete and be considered anything more than a niche sport they will get fighting out of the game. Some of us love the game no matter what and nothing will change that. No other team sport in any country permits fighting and skilled players are losing roster spots to players like Colton Orr, Eric Godard, and Dan Carcillo. 1975

    • hockeyflow33 - May 22, 2013 at 10:32 PM

      RIght because MMA isn’t popular at all right now and boxing wasn’t an american staple for several decades.

      • mp1131211 - May 23, 2013 at 2:31 AM

        MMA is different because the sport is exclusively fighting. Hockey is the only sport in the world where you can fight someone kid your team is losing and be, if at all, only minimally punished.

        I actually enjoy the fact that fighting exists in the NHL. But to outsiders, it’s just stupid and counters everything every child was taught in youth athletics about sportsmanship. If NHL wants to get top three sports status, it’ll have to deal with fighting.

      • hockeyflow33 - May 23, 2013 at 2:50 AM

        That’s why the sport is great, no need to resort to the slapfest fighting you see in MLB and NBA

      • mp1131211 - May 23, 2013 at 2:56 AM

        The sport is great for a lot of reasons, imo.

        But- just to argue- MLB has some wicked fights actually. Hardly slapfests at all.

  16. ironman721 - May 22, 2013 at 10:28 PM

    I would love to see Fehr in a fight… and get his ass kicked!

  17. steelers4385 - May 22, 2013 at 10:32 PM

    Are you kidding? I mean i literally feel stupider havind read some of these posts. How do you not like fighting? Its like half the excitment of hockey. Its like saying no more crashes are allowed in NASCAR. Stop trying to be a bunch of buddist monks. Theres nothing wrong with a man throwing some punches for 30 seconds or less. Big deal. And if you dont like it, then stop watching and ruining it for the actual fans that have been here since day one. Fighting had been apart of hockey since day one. Go get laid and grow some hair on your chest and comeback and talk to the big boys when your done crying us all a river.

    • mp1131211 - May 23, 2013 at 2:57 AM

      I feel stupider when you use literally figuratively.

    • mp1131211 - May 23, 2013 at 2:58 AM

      And in NASCAR… They try NOT to crash.

    • mp1131211 - May 23, 2013 at 3:19 AM

      Jesus- and they DO SAY crashing isn’t allowed in NASCAR. Hahaha.. Let me guess, you are an enforcer in your local hockey club, aren’t you?

  18. hockeyflow33 - May 22, 2013 at 10:33 PM

    Non-hockey people just continue to try and destroy the sport

  19. pitpenguinsrulez - May 22, 2013 at 10:34 PM

    I remember Doc Emrick saying last year in Game 3 of Pens vs. Flyers that 200 players were surveyed and asked if fighting should be removed from the game…and I quote “Only one player wanted fighting removed from the game.” I guess Fehr wants to be like Goodell.

  20. sheckyrimshot - May 22, 2013 at 10:37 PM

    does it concern anyone else that the director of the NHLPA needs someone to explain to him why fighting is part of hockey?

    • sheckyrimshot - May 22, 2013 at 10:41 PM

      “can someone explain the whole ice thing to me? why cant they just play on gym mats with a tennis ball?”

  21. jaysfan64 - May 22, 2013 at 10:38 PM

    Anything Gilles Lupien has to say about fighting in the NHL needs to be taken with a grain of salt…

  22. jtdapit50 - May 22, 2013 at 10:45 PM

    Take fighting away from hockey. I stop watching.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - May 22, 2013 at 11:14 PM

      And what a tragic loss that would be, too. The higher ratings that Olympic hockey and the later Stanley Cup rounds get, both of which usually have either zero or far fewer fights, would seem to suggest that there might just be someone to replace your tenuous support.

  23. viper027 - May 22, 2013 at 10:52 PM

    Take fighting from the game and you lose a huge American interest. Lets not lie to ourselves, that interest equates to $$$. It’s always about $$$. For every die hard fan there has to be a hundred who just watch for the brutality, its sad that they will never understand the beauty of our game. Personally I enjoy a good scrap between two guys who want to go. But if they take fighting and keep suspending guys for “dirty” hits we might as well watch roller hockey.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - May 23, 2013 at 3:41 AM

      viper says: Take fighting from the game and you lose a huge American interest.
      That would sure explain why the NHL has much greater US TV ratings than the NFL and NBA; those idiots banned fighting. If they were smart, they’d allow lots of fights and might be able to get some US fans to watch their games.

  24. benrob99 - May 22, 2013 at 10:58 PM

    Fighting ABSOLUTELY has a spot in the game. (and always has) It can be strategic… It can be organic… It can be to ”protect” your stars. Any way you slice it, it IS part of the game, and always should be.

  25. csilojohnson - May 22, 2013 at 11:06 PM

    Must be the chemicals in the water that is causing all these men to be born with vaginas.

  26. Troll_toll - May 22, 2013 at 11:08 PM

    I find it hard to believe true fans of the game would ever want to eliminate fighting. Chances are if you fail to comprehend fightings place in hockey you’ve never played the game….sit down, shut your mouth and foil up.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - May 22, 2013 at 11:23 PM

      Trool, I am a true fan, for over 50 years, I’ve played and reffed, and I do know fighting’s true place. It serves to entertain people who get a vicarious thrill from seeing two men punching each other, people who do not seem to care if those men can suffer career- or life-shortening injuries. It rarely serves any other purpose. Now, can you comprehend that people who love and understand the sport can disagree, or are you capable only of insulting other people? And no, I will neither sit down nor shut up.

      • hockeyflow33 - May 23, 2013 at 3:02 AM

        You really should though

      • Troll_toll - May 23, 2013 at 10:12 AM

        There is little doubt fighting has an entertainment value. I can not argue that point. Seeing two men square off has been entertainment since the beginning of mankind. Call me old school but without fighting I think there would be a lot more chippy play. The threat of career ending injuries and/or life shortening injuries would be greater. Smaller players and finesse guys would not have the freedom and room to display their amazing skill. Gretzky would have never had the long career he did without his guardian McSorley watching his back. Not to mention hockey is such a game of momentum. Like it or not, dropping the gloves can have a tremendous affect on the momentum of a game, tipping it one way or the other. These guys make a lot of money playing a game, all of which know the risks that come with dropping the gloves. Don’t get all butt hurt nothanks, if you don’t like the way the game has always been, you don’t have to watch. I still strongly feel the majority or anti-hockey fight supporters truly have never played the game and cannot possibly understand the place fighting has in hockey.

    • atwatercrushesokoye - May 23, 2013 at 8:46 AM

      What’s funny is that most of the people on here claiming “if you don’t think fighting is a part of hockey than you never played the game” never actually played the game at a high enough level for fighting to be considered a part of the game ie Junior and pro level hockey. If you’re using your experience playing in a beer league to lecture us on how you played the game, just stop. Oh and if you’re fighting in a beer league, you’re a loser.

      If fighting is such a big part of the game then why isn’t there fighting at the Olympics? World junior championships? NCAA? European leagues? And why is it the lower you get in the professional ranks in North America, the more fighting there is?

  27. romo2dez88 - May 22, 2013 at 11:16 PM

    BOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

  28. valoisjoeybfeld69 - May 22, 2013 at 11:35 PM

    Lets cut through the crap about the genesis and value of fights in hockey. All this BS is smoke and mirrors. The brutal truth we recently learned is continuous blows to the head can cause CTE. This disease doesn’t care that fighting has been part of the game forever, or that fighting is entertaining, or can lift a team. The NHL is cracking down on head shots because they want to protect the players. Someone needs to step up and make a case to at least start talking about the possibility that fighting can cause CTE. Doesn’t matter who it is. You can’t look at this issue objectively if you make it about you. Listen to what science has to say before stating your preference.

    • mp1131211 - May 23, 2013 at 2:39 AM

      Wow. I agree with you. Completely. Mark it in the calendar. :)

      I quite like watching a tension filled game when you never know who might drop the gloves over who knows what. But, as you said, you simply can’t ignore the science. And people are brutally suffering life long trauma for my adrenaline rushes. As much as I truly enjoy fights during a game, I just can’t look past that FACT.

      • valoisjoeybfeld69 - May 23, 2013 at 5:44 AM

        Wow! I’m on a role this week. First hockeyflow and now you. :-)

    • hockeyflow33 - May 23, 2013 at 3:05 AM

      Only a handful of guys on a team fight in a season whereas everyone checks. By your logic, checking is far more dangerous when you extrapolate the numbers. Should we ban contact as well?

      • mp1131211 - May 23, 2013 at 3:16 AM

        I don’t think checks are as dangerous in terms of head trauma as fist fights. Generally CTE is found in people with repeated head trauma. Some checks result in blows to the head whether from direct contact, the ice, or from CAD injuries. But nearly every fight results in a blow to the head.

      • valoisjoeybfeld69 - May 23, 2013 at 6:17 AM

        Here’s the thing. Checking, though it has been part of the game forever, has not always caused head trauma, as mp11311211 mentioned. Only in the last decade or so have we seen so serious head injuries resulting from a check. Why? What changed? Is it the speed of the game?Less clutching and grabbing? Removal of the red line? Hard shell equipment worn today compared to the softer shoulder and elbow pads? Blind sided hits? Players are better protected, but with the speed and equipment they wear they’ve become human missiles. The full force generated from an elbow or shoulder is transferred the head and completely absorbed by the skull, whereas with softer equipment the force of the blow was absorbed somewhat by the equipment. A punch to the head from someone wearing a boxing glove will have a different effect compared to a close fist or in other words, and hard shelled boxing glove. I don’t know the solution. What I do know is CTE needs to be taken seriously, and an independent committee from the scientific and hockey realms should start looking into the issue. Take a look at Head Games on Netflix. Maybe I missed something, but in this documentary the Chairman of the NHL Concussion Committee, Reuben Echemendia, PHD, seemed a little out of touch with reality. Perhaps his paid millions by the NHL to chair this committee. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/13/sports/hockey/in-debate-about-fighting-in-hockey-medical-experts-weigh-in.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

  29. taintedlombardis - May 22, 2013 at 11:42 PM

    Fighting is why Hockey will always be a fringe sport. It caters to the lowest common denominator. If Hockey wants to evolve it needs to ban fighting. Charge players with assault.

    • mp1131211 - May 23, 2013 at 2:40 AM

      That might be a bit extreme…

  30. dreadpiratesteve - May 23, 2013 at 12:06 AM

    Those in favor of leaving the game as it is: Men

    Those in favor of turning it into flag football: Women

    There, now everyone knows what side they belong on.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - May 23, 2013 at 3:49 AM

      dread, congrats, one of the stupidest comments on this board. Tough competition, too. I’ve seen plenty of women cheering hockey fights. And many men are coming to understand how extremely damaging fighting can be to other men’s health. But you stick with your inanely sexist crap there buddy. LOL.

  31. westof1club - May 23, 2013 at 1:00 AM

    Never mind Boogaard, Rypien, Belak, etc. As long as cro-mags are the majority of hockey fans responding to these articles, we can expect fervent support of an act that diminishes the sport in order to ‘entertain’ audiences. Because, of course, no competitive endeavor can be completed w/out participants physically bludgeoning each other.

  32. schlitzy - May 23, 2013 at 1:19 AM

    I would like to address fighting as well:
    it’s part of hockey

    moving on…

  33. westof1club - May 23, 2013 at 1:43 AM

    @tainted – stealing oil.

  34. mp1131211 - May 23, 2013 at 2:50 AM

    The red wings have been a team of few fights for years and we all know how incredibly boring their games are to watch… {{sarcasm}}

    I personally enjoy a good scrap. But I commend Fehr for bringing this up. The amount of serious health consequences that repeated head trauma has on a person is undeniable. It absolutely has to be part of the discussion about how to make NHL hockey better.

    Anyway, fighting is a byproduct of an age of hockey that is gone. The instigator rule made null and void the use of fighting to keep it clean. Now, fights are all about momentum. Their uselessness should be obvious in that the best fighters are usually the worst players. Not much athleticism needed, rather a thick jaw and jacked pecs and biceps.

    Now that you are all ready to thumbs down this, I will say that, to me, the most compelling argument to keep it in the game is that the majority of players want it there. So if Fehr is really interested in representing the players, he’s barking up the wrong tree.

  35. ironman721 - May 23, 2013 at 6:45 AM

    Mandatory face masks, like Crosby’s would go a long way in reducing head injuries and fights.

  36. multiplemiggs - May 23, 2013 at 6:47 AM

    well said steelers!

  37. csilojohnson - May 23, 2013 at 7:33 AM

    These guys are compensated greatly for their troubles later in life.
    Funny how fans are more concerned about player safety then the players themselves.

  38. ryanw822 - May 23, 2013 at 8:31 AM

    I agree, lets ban fighting so we can stop seeing so many head injuries.

    **Sits back to watch players target the head even more since there is no fighting

  39. buffalomafia - May 23, 2013 at 9:05 AM

    When players fight they should take off there helmets!

  40. steelers4385 - May 23, 2013 at 9:37 AM

    Its all bull. Just a way for doctors to nickle and dime people. Same as going to a gas station and getting charged to run debit. Give me a break with this protect the head stuff. Instead of changing the game and taking out the excitment, just like football….make these little vagina players start signing waivers.

  41. mathieug79 - May 23, 2013 at 9:52 AM

    I don’t understand how the QMJHL has more audience than ever? University hockey around where I live is way better hockey (yes they don’t fight, but they can play hockey). I like fights, it gets me off my seat everytime. It can change the outcome of the game if you Win a fight, same with if you lose a fight.

    As a Lightning fan, the most memorable fight was Lecavalier vs Iginla. Loved it!

    • atwatercrushesokoye - May 23, 2013 at 5:36 PM

      I was at that game, I remember the fight, I think that fight was more symbolic as both team’s best players dug in and fought for it, but really there was no momentum gained from it. The fight was probably a draw (Lecavalier did land the biggest punch though) but Calgary won that game 3-0 and Tampa won the series, no momentum gained/lost from it. Although yes the crowd (myself included) went crazy for that fight.

      I’m against fighting in hockey overall, but I could live with this type of fighting, it was two great players getting frustrated and it happened naturally in the flow of the game. What I don’t like is the staged fights between two 6’6 275 pound guys who have no business in the NHL except for fighting. Or when a player lands a big hit and even if it’s clean he’s jumped by 2 guys because he hit someone.

      I think what the league needs to do is 2 things: 1. Start liberally handing out suspensions for head hits, dirty play, send a message with suspensions (evenly to players for their actions not the results) and that will cut down on that stuff. 2. Allow fighting to stay in the game but make it an automatic 10 minute misconduct for anyone who fights, and implement a rule that if you’re a player who averages less than 8-10 minutes of ice time, you started getting suspended after your second fighting penalty of the season and the team gets fined, every time the number doubles, this will eliminate the goons and end staged fights.

  42. ndrick731 - May 23, 2013 at 11:01 AM

    Stop the staged flights such as two guys going at it at the drop of the puck. But eliminating flighting altogether will just encourage the cheap shots. All the head shots that occur today would’ve never happened in the 70s. The retaliation would have been so bad on the offending player as to make it not worth it. The first thing that should actually be done is eliminating the instigator penalty.

  43. hockeydon10 - May 23, 2013 at 11:40 AM

    Seriously, the only way to get it out completely is to ban it, followed up with suspensions for the guys that still do it. Which is never going to happen.

    The “code” can be taken care of with stiffer penalties and suspensions for guys that spear or run players or whatever, but you’re still never going to get fighting out of hockey.

  44. bigkattruthserum - May 23, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    I fear what would happen if the players aren’t given an outlet to release anger towards one another. Would we see more dangerous hits, shoulders to the head? Fighting is relatively safe when two players square up and are able to defend themselves. The amount of injuries resulting from fights is minuscule in comparison to dangerous hits during play.

  45. dlk75150 - May 23, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    Fire this idiot

  46. luciddream7 - May 23, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    Fights are up to the players involved in them and they’re fully aware of potential consequences. All the pathetic, whiny anti-fighting advocates need to butt out of other peoples business. I am so sick of people feeling they need to look out for what’s best for others. Look out for yourself.

  47. bd007h - May 23, 2013 at 11:09 PM

    If fighting were removed from the NHL, I guarantee there would be more cheap shots. What needs to be done is get rid of the stupid instigator rule.

    yeah yeah yeah, there’s no fighting in international hockey blah blah blah. There’s also less hitting cause the rink is much bigger.

    If there’s going to be hitting, fighting is pretty much a necessity.

  48. nhstateline - May 25, 2013 at 10:59 AM

    1. The history of Canada and the War of 1812 and the 1th Century is mostly accurate. On the other hand, by the middle of the 20th Century nobody in officialdom in the US, UK or Canada doubts that the US could militarily take the place over but nobody in officialdom in any of the three of them thinks this is a good idea. North America’s fine the way it is, leave it alone is the widespread belief in all three corridors of power.

    2. As for fighting in hockey, can see both sides of this. Sometimes teams get energy out of it and it does allow for a self-policing amongst the players that reduces even worse hits over time. On the other hand, the idea is to punch someone in the head so that means more concussions meaning that it runs straight into the emphasis the league has on head injuries. Plus, a lot of these fights involve two guys swinging each other around for 30 seconds, I personally don’t find that to be as entertaining as an odd man rush, a well blocked shot or a nice save so I think the entertainment value is questionable. As for the enforcers who lose jobs, the ones who can actually play won’t and the others will give way to guys from the AHL/ Europe who can. No net job loss. I wouldn’t miss it if it went away today because I think the value it adds is less than the cost it brings.

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