NHL News & Fan Opinion: Should National Hockey League Ban Fighting From Games? (POLL)
Ice hockey is one of the most physically demanding sports in the world. From hip checks, slashes and 100 mile per hour shots, hockey players are some of the toughest athletes out there. One of the ongoing debates in the NHL is whether or not fighting should be allowed during games.
Opinions are split on this issue with compelling and convincing arguments on both sides.
On the one side, some fans believe that fighting is just part of the game. Fighting has been in the NHL since the 1920s, and the fans love it. Teams like the 1970s Philadelphia Flyers, also known as the "Broad Street Bullies," are well known for how good they were at fighting during games. Fans love to watch goaltenders fight each other at center ice, like Patrick Roy and Chris Osgood.
With fighting allowed in the NHL, rivalries only increase. Hockey is a tough sport, and taking away fighting would just make the sport look "soft," according to some. Look at how the NBA is played these days without physical play between teams. Even the NFL is getting stricter with physical hitting guidelines, and fans are disapproving of new rules.
It's the players' risk, and they have the choice if they want to fight or not. The NHL players union (NHLPA) has taken no action against fighting because players aren't against it at all. Even when players do fight with one another, they are still penalized for their actions with a five minute penalty.
But there are many others who think fighting doesn't belong in the game anymore.
Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman has spoken about this topic before. Yzerman has called for a ban on fighting in the past, and thinks that a game misconduct for fighting would be appropriate. Yzerman is one of the best players in recent history having played more than 20 seasons in the league and winning three Stanley Cups as a player with the Detroit Red Wings.
Wayne Gretzky has also said multiple times that stricter measures and rules have to be taken against fighting.
One of the biggest issues in sports today is concussions and head injuries. Lawsuits toward sports leagues and teams are higher than ever. Having players hit each other without helmets or gloves on could come back to bite the NHL in the future. Another small factor to consider is time. While many hockey fans simply want to watch a game between two great teams, fighting just gets in the way. Some fights are simply personal, between two players. We've seen some fights interfere with games and delay time. Bench clearing brawls haven't done anything to help ratings for the league either.
Fighting in the NHL has been around for decades. Many sports want to continue to see it during games, but others want to see stricter rules with fighting. Fans approve of fighting during games, but the league may want to look toward the future.
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