Fighting in Hockey: Should it be Banished?

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The National Hockey League punishes fighting with a five-minute major penalty. Besides that, the act of players beating the crap out of each other is completely legal, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Now I will go forth in an unconventional style and express the rest of my opinions through the direct quotes of people I talked to about fighting in hockey. I share most of the same views as them, and I am proud of the fact.

Rutgers freshman Nick Argentieri doesn’t believe the NHL needs a rule change.

“I think it’s a good method of rallying the team and exciting the fans,” he said. “It definitely adds a certain character to the game that other sports lack.

For the die-hard hockey fan, fighting adds something to the sport that simply doesn’t exist in any other around the world.

“When I see a hockey fight I go crazy,” said Tyler Griffis, a freshman business major at Temple. “It sends a message to everyone in the building that there is no giving up, and that the war on ice that is hockey has just begun.”

Brett Tozzi, a junior art history major at Maryland, says that changing the rules on fighting in hockey would ruin the dynamics of the sport.

Fighting has been built into the framework of hockey,” he said. “It would almost be like telling a baseball manager that [he] couldn’t argue with an umpire after a questionable call.”

Hockey is a tough man’s game. Players are constantly battling for position – before, during, and after the whistle. They are given a way to release their anger by allowing fights to occur in hockey.

“The institution of fighting in hockey is almost a preventative measure,” Tozzi said. “By allowing for small fights to go on, the need for an all-out riot is avoided.”

Although many people agree with my opinions, there are some who view fighting in a different manner.

“I love fighting in hockey, but objectively it’s absolutely ridiculous,” said Mike Gadomski, a junior philosophy major at Middlebury College. “I mean they stop a sporting event just so two people can have a boxing match.”

This where I disagree. The very fact that a player is given a center stage to prove his dominance over the guy across from him attracts me to the sport of hockey more than anything else. Also, the fighting occurs on ice, which is harder than a real boxing match.

The use of fighting in hockey goes beyond the assertion of physical dominance, though. A player can pick a fight with an opponent in order to get them out of the game (in the penalty box) temporarily. It also sends a message to the other team: Here I am. Let’s go. What are you going to do about it?  In terms of a chess match, it’s the opposition’s move now.

“Fighting adds an element of excitement and affords the players an element of control over what they will allow the other team to do,” said Noah Shrago, a freshman business major at Maryland.  

“It allows the players to police themselves,” said Ryan Grosso, a junior history major at St. Joseph’s University, “which is something that many experts will tell you has been missing in the modern era given the new rules and speed of the game.” 

Freshman > Journalism > University of Maryland

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