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Could mandatory visors spell an end to fighting in hockey?

Jun 9, 2013, 8:26 PM EDT

Boston Bruins v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game One Getty Images

Last week, the big news out of the NHL-NHLPA Competition Committee meeting was that mandatory visor use will be grandfathered in.

And now, a major Canadian newspaper has explored whether this will mean the end to fighting in the game, as well.

The Globe and Mail ran an editorial, which was published Sunday, stating that mandatory visors will “portend” an end to fighting.

(Interesting to note that the two players in the photo – the Bruins’ Patrice Bergeron and the Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin – both wear visors.)

Here is the final paragraph of The Globe and Mail editorial.

The full version can be viewed here.

Hockey at all levels is working to reduce or eliminate headshots. It makes no sense that punches to the head are still permitted. The end of fighting won’t come all at once, but gently, when today’s grandfathers have said goodbye to the game.

Last month, NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr addressed the issue of fighting with players and agents.

“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 Sauvé, as per a Google translation of a report on CBC/Radio-Canada.

  1. hockeyflow33 - Jun 9, 2013 at 8:30 PM

    Well there are never fights in the AHL and the ECHL absolutely doesn’t have major fights so we can all agree mandatory visors equal no more fighting.

    Please note the extremely heavy sarcasm that some people tend to miss.

    • valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jun 10, 2013 at 8:37 AM

      Thank you for the last line. :-)

  2. letsgopens8771 - Jun 9, 2013 at 8:33 PM

    Hope not. Jarko Ruutu started the ceremonial ripping off of the helmet and most players do that now.

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Jun 9, 2013 at 9:25 PM

      That was in the WHL long before Ruutuu was in the NHL. As for it being the end of fighting, visors are mandatory in the CHL and there’s never been a shortage of fights….although the OHL banned fighting this year.

  3. jacketsfan7 - Jun 9, 2013 at 8:52 PM


  4. DonkeyStick - Jun 9, 2013 at 9:20 PM


  5. spitfisher - Jun 9, 2013 at 9:24 PM

    Doubt it will have much impact on people who fight vs cowards who turtle

  6. mildfan - Jun 9, 2013 at 9:30 PM

    Did not know that visors took the raw emotion out of the game. Get real there will still be fighting because there is emotion, the code and cheap shots!

  7. polegojim - Jun 9, 2013 at 9:31 PM

    Not eliminate… but probably reduce

    It will refine the situations and as spitfisher mentioned… separate the cowards who hide behind the visor and helmet and then drop the gloves.

    If you’re gonna go… take off the helmet/visor and THEN go. Know you’re gonna take a few shots.

    That’s the man’s way to take care of business… on ice or off… anyway.

    • jpelle82 - Jun 10, 2013 at 11:34 AM

      they need to enforce or refine the visor/instagator clause if they want to reduce fighting, gotta make the guy pay for not taking it off, maybe then he will think twice before fighting in the first place since he wont have the extra protection.

      46.6 Face Protection – If a player penalized as an instigator of an altercation is wearing a face shield (including a goalkeeper), he shall be assessed an additional unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

      nothing better than 2 guys squaring off and removing the lids though, hope that never goes away.

      • barkar942 - Jun 11, 2013 at 1:27 PM

        The only problem with them removing their helmet to fight to avoid the instigator penalty is what happens if one should fall during the altercation and be suffer a severe head injury or worse, potential loss of life because the helmet was removed to avoid a penalty? Would the NHL then be legally liable for the injury since their rule created the potential for that severe injury to happen to an unprotected head?
        Personally, I feel that they should all be wearing what Crosby and Malhotra wore after their injuries with the mouth protection, and that would totally curb fighting.

  8. pmonte3122 - Jun 9, 2013 at 9:48 PM

    Just take your helmet off maybe?

  9. mildfan - Jun 9, 2013 at 10:32 PM

    Guys don’t hide behind visors, they would not fight with or without a visor, it is the man who decides to fight not his equipment.

  10. pitpenguinsrulez - Jun 9, 2013 at 11:13 PM

    I would pay to see someone knockout Bettman and Daly both. Maybe Scott Stevens or Darius Kasparaitis can come out of retirement and pop them both.

    • calithirteen - Jun 10, 2013 at 12:59 PM

      Kasparaitis? i recall him only being good at throwing hip checks and then if he wasn’t getting his ass kicked in for it, he was cowering away because he couldn’t fight for sh*t!

  11. sabatimus - Jun 9, 2013 at 11:24 PM

    The people who think fights will stop clearly have never watched an AHL game over the last 6 years.

  12. jernster21 - Jun 9, 2013 at 11:41 PM

    Considering anyone who is currently in the league who doesn’t wear a visor, doesn’t have to…let’s just pop this article to the top in about 15-20 years when the last visorless player retires.

    With that said – a visor isn’t going to stop someone from breaking someone’s face if they want to.

  13. Stiller43 - Jun 10, 2013 at 12:31 AM

    “It makes no sense that punches to the head are still permitted.”

    Isnt this like saying hooping and tripping are permitted?

    • Anoesis - Jun 10, 2013 at 3:06 AM

      “Hooping?” What’s that?

      • jpelle82 - Jun 10, 2013 at 1:36 PM

        lol….how long have you been waiting to use that gif? perfect set-up. hilarious

  14. betrayedbylife - Jun 10, 2013 at 1:20 AM

    lame article. guessing the author of that canadian editorial has a green thumb and a brown nose. go back to planting flowers and puckering up to butts and let the men on the ice show you that an honest profession involves a bit of fisticuffs

  15. Anoesis - Jun 10, 2013 at 3:02 AM

    It won’t stop until the league specifically bans it. I’d much rather see them take out their anger on each other with hard, legal hits. Just give a game misconduct to the instigator. Of course, that would mean actually calling the “missed” penalties that usually portend (pretty fancy word for a hockey story) a fight.

    • sunderlanding - Jun 10, 2013 at 12:27 PM

      How can they call missed penalties? You understand that refs make mistakes as well right. If it’s missed…it’s….well missed.

  16. Stiller43 - Jun 10, 2013 at 3:38 AM

    Sorry, HOOKING***

    • Anoesis - Jun 10, 2013 at 11:08 AM

      Sorry, Stiller, just having some fun at your expense.

  17. Stiller43 - Jun 10, 2013 at 3:39 AM

    Although thats a pretty…unique gif.

    And that should *not* be permitted either….

  18. valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jun 10, 2013 at 6:09 AM

    I for one absolutely think fighting should not be permitted. There is no denying the entertaining value with respect to fights. I’ve never changed the channel during a fight, and as a hockey player I fought in minor hockey and junior. However, recent medical findings proves that CTE is caused by repetitive blows to the head. So, from a player safety perspective the NHL must take a stand as it has with head shots. Either they ban fights or put in rules to ensure player safety. Ex. if a player has taken a head shot he must go to the dressing room to pass a baseline test before he is allowed back on the ice. This should also apply to players assessed a major for fighting.

    • valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jun 10, 2013 at 10:21 AM

      Here is the NHL’s concussion policy implemented in March/2011. “Prior to this, a player suspected of having a concussion was examined on the bench. Now, the athlete is examined in a quiet area, away from play and distraction. The team doctor decides when a player can return to play. If a player has a concussion and is sidelined, they must be symptom free, and concussion tests must return to baseline before they can return to action. Players are examined in the arena using the SCAT2. Their baseline and subsequent concussion testing is done using ImPACT”.

    • sunderlanding - Jun 10, 2013 at 12:20 PM

      So should they ban UFC and boxing as well?

      • valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jun 10, 2013 at 3:03 PM

        When was the last time you say a hockey game breakout during a boxing match or in the UFC cage?

      • sunderlanding - Jun 13, 2013 at 2:41 PM

        If boxing and UFC are still legal there should still be fighting in hockey. It’s really that simple.

  19. joeyashwi - Jun 10, 2013 at 9:41 AM

    I played hockey for fourteen years. If fighting was banned then there would be no repercussions for players who cheap shot star players or rough goalies up at the end of plays. I believe that it is more dangerous to let players like Dustin Brown and Matt Cooke run around hurting people than it is to allow players to defend themselves and teammates by dropping the gloves. Hockey is a sport that is fueled on emotion more than any other. That is what makes it so exciting. Take intimidation and physicality out of the game and it will turn into a boring watered down version like the NFL is becoming.

    • valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jun 10, 2013 at 10:33 AM

      I don’t agree, but respect your comment. The repercussions for giving cheap shots (to star players or others) must be the responsibility of the league. Rule books, on ice officials, videos, and the Player Safety Committee should be the only entity responsible for handing our repercussions. You’re invoking the old boys mentality to maintain things as they are. I’ve been to many games where no fights broke out and was highly entertained by the quality of play. If there was a fight, I would stand up and watch, but never felt deprived if none occurred. Understanding the scientific facts about the causes of CTE (concussions resulting from repeated head shots) I strongly encourage the elimination of fighting, or at the very least for now a good the next step would be applying the NHL’s concussion policy to fighting. I like to think we evolved since the days of caveman, so I see no reason why we can’t continue.

      • sunderlanding - Jun 10, 2013 at 12:25 PM

        I don’t see the elimination of violence as evolution. Violence is and will always be a part of nature. It’s a part of who we are, and we should grow with it. We like violence. That’s why UFC, Football, Boxing, Hockey ect. are so popular. If you don’t want to get hurt don’t play. There are no guarantees in life, and real evolution would be the acceptance of that possibility. Not the attempt to make the world a place where people can’t get hurt.

      • valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jun 10, 2013 at 3:07 PM

        So, you think nature drives us to rape women, kill other human being for pleasure, jealousy, greed etc…. Funny, animals (nature in the pure sense) don’t kill for game. They kill to feed and when they are threatened. In other words to survive. Long gone are the days when the caveman dragged a woman by the hair to his cave. Isn’t that evolution towards less violence?

      • thesportsjudge - Jun 10, 2013 at 5:02 PM

        In response to sunderling, you are absolutely correct. There is something called the “Fight or flight response.”

      • The Grand Occident - Jun 12, 2013 at 10:36 AM

        “Funny, animals (nature in the pure sense) don’t kill for game.”


        And you’re another effeminate idiot.

      • sunderlanding - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:49 PM

        Hey moron can you read? I said we should grow with violence. Meaning our understanding of it, and acceptance of it should change. I’m not saying we should rape women, but if some guy wants to fight another guy in a violent sport they should be allowed. Especially since UFC is still allowed. If you’re allowed to fight professionally there should be fighting in hockey.

  20. buffalomafia - Jun 10, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    No! When players fight they should take off there helmets before they fight so they don’t injure there hands!

    How many fights do u see when players throw a punch & they hit the other guys helmet?

    In Juniors they take off helmets and go to battle.

    • calithirteen - Jun 10, 2013 at 1:09 PM

      I hear what ya saying but Hockey is the only professional sport aside maybe the NBA, where you play on a solid surface that doesn’t give at all. Blows to the back of the head such as hitting the ice while falling backwards for example, is a sure fire way to shorten anyone’s career. I’d rather a guy have a sore hand then a concussion.

      What drives me nuts is guys who fight w/ the visors on!!! Whatever happened to the rule that a player engaged in a fight must remove his visor or get an additional 2 min penalty???!!!!! Are visors not removable now?

      • thesportsjudge - Jun 10, 2013 at 5:05 PM

        The NHL should make guys who fight with a visor get a 5 min major. I’m pretty sure coaches would not tolerate being on the penalty kill for 5 consecutive minutes because one guy was too stupid to take his helmet off.

  21. sunderlanding - Jun 10, 2013 at 12:31 PM

    As long as UFC and Boxing are still legal there should be fighting in hockey. All this headshot crap is just PR for soccer moms. Fighting is legal, so it should be allowed in hockey.

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