We are not even ten games into the NHL season and many media outlets are already discussing whether or not fighting should be banned from hockey. This discussion comes up at least a dozen times every year but I didn’t think that it was going to be brought up so quickly this season.
However, in light of what happen to Canadians enforcer George Parros last week, the subject of fighting is once again being debated. Now, to be clear, as a player and a fan I believe that fighting has a place in hockey and I don’t want to see it banned in any way whatsoever.
Now, many people against fighting will state that it has no place in hockey because of the dangers and stupidity of it. This is a valid point as fighting usually leads to injuries that could end a player’s NHL career at a young age.
The issue that bothers me, though, is why is hockey the sport that gets so much negative attention because of one aspect of the game? I’ve never heard any reports about the number of concussions or serious injuries that occur in UFC, american football or boxing. This may be because fighting is what these athletes are trained to do and that’s the very purpose of the sport. But, then again, the same can be said for the enforcers like Colton Orr or Parros.
These guys spend hours training specifically to fight their opponents. So, let me get this straight, it's fine for millions of people to watch two athletes fight each other in an octagon ring for five minutes but fighting should be outlawed in hockey because it’s on a slippery surface or could lead to people banging their heads on ice? To me, that just doesn’t make sense at all.
But for arguments sake, let’s say that fighting does get eliminated from hockey. I’m sure most fans and players will say that most injuries occur from standard body-checks, hits from behind or simply falling awkwardly into the boards. So, does that mean that people will then move to eliminate the hip-check or cross checking altogether as well?
The point I’m trying to make here is those that are concerned about the dangers and risks of playing hockey will always find something to complain about. The reality is that every time anybody suits up to play hockey, they also accept the risk that they may sustain some injuries.
And it’s not as if players are playing with the equipment from the time of Bobby Orr either. Today’s hockey players have access to some of the best and safest hockey equipment there is. Therefore, I believe this age old debate is pointless and I wish people wouldn’t dwell on it so much. There are risks and stupidity within every sport and athletes know that.
I’m all for keeping athletes safe, but there are always going to be risks, safety issues and negative emotions. I just hope I don’t have to hear about this issue too many more times during this NHL season as it’s a waste of a reporter’s time and it will always be a debatable issue.
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