The fighting debate currently tearing the National Hockey League apart took another twist this weekend after a linesman was knocked out during a fight.

Controversy has embroiled the sport this season after a number of players suffered concussions due to in-play fighting.

Recently, a new rule has been introduced to punish players who voluntarily remove their helmets before fighting in a bid to up safety.

There have also been calls for officials to take a more active stance to manage fights, putting themselves in harms way in the process.

At the weekend, one referee got himself so far in the thick of a brawl that he was knocked out after taking a punch to the face in a game against Prince George and the Vernon Vipers.

Trying to calm the mass brawl down, the linesman got between two players in an attempt to settle matters but took a blow to the face, falling to the ground and leaving a pool of blood on the ice.

With no end in sight to fighting in the NHL but more pressure on referees to get involved themselves, the sight of referees strung out over the ice may become a more familiar sight.

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