In junior hockey, fighting may be soon be a relic of the past


The ritual of the small-town hockey game is deeply ingrained in Canada. Far from the big rinks and big cities of the NHL, players battle on ice, with their sticks and their fists, every winter, from Quesnel, B.C. to  Stephensville, Newfoundland.

But the nature of those wars may soon be changing, the New York Times reported Tuesday. Hockey Canada and U.S.A. Hockey are both considering sweeping rule changes that would vastly curtail fighting in amateur and junior hockey on both sides of the border.

“The appetite is there,”David Branch, the president of the Canadian Hockey League told the Times. “The time is certainly right to move forward.”

The proposals come as evidence continues to mount of the toll fighting takes on some players. The Times‘ series on former NHLer Derek Boogaard, published in early December, was a meticulous inditement of the brawling life he learned on his way to the show, and the price he eventually paid for those years.

The NHL seems unlikely to abandon fighting anytime soon. But dramatic change may be coming to its feeder leagues, and sooner than one might expect.

From the Times:

In January, USA Hockey’s Junior Council discussed emergency legislation that would combat fighting with much harsher penalties, starting as early as next fall. The council, composed largely of junior-league commissioners, may propose a system like that used in the N.C.A.A., where players are immediately ejected for fighting and progressive suspensions are doled out for subsequent bouts. Fights in college hockey are rare.

“A switch has been flipped within the United States to address the fighting issue in junior hockey,” said John Vanbiesbrouck, a former N.H.L. goalie who leads USA Hockey’s Junior Council.

Filed under:

In junior hockey, fighting may be soon be a relic of the past

  1. let’s americanize hockey a little more… soon all the rinks will be empty

  2. How great to be turning our game into American College Hockey… we should pussify the game a little more I say… start rapping everyone in bubble rap… make the equipment even more deadly then it is now, you know, for protection and junk… but at the same time take out the “violent” aspect of the game… lots more equipment and a lot less “violence”… co-ed hockey would be good too… lets get pussified…

  3. It is time to bring hockey into the new Millenium. Stronger instigator rules would also be welcomed. As a small, skill-player, I disliked getting a 5 minute penalty for getting the cr*p beat out of me, while the instigator-enforcer from the other team received the same 5 minutes.
    The rinks will not be empty; football, soccer, baseball, basketball, rugby etc stadiums seem to fill up just fine.

    • I agree, it’s time to bring insidious political correctness into our game, because of the new Millenium, and junk. However, there already is a useless instigator rule. Canadian style hockey is a game that used to be played by Canadians who weren’t pussies, but I guess that Canada is long gone. As a smallish, skilled player I never got the crap beat out me, although I did have my share of black eyes and fat lips, mainly because I’m not a pussy and I had coaches who taught me how to tie a bigger up and stand him up, and I knew how to fight back. It doesn’t matter though, because hockey is pretty much crap these days, the nuances and beauty of the game have been replaced with a kind of Basketball on ice charade, to better appeal to Americans, or some such BS… Borrrrrrring! Oh well, it’s up to the Americans to decide the direction of Canada’s game now anyhow. Canadians have been neutered, and they’re game has been castrated.

Sign in to comment.