Hodge: Finding an agreement on fighting

Dave Hodge
1/20/2009 9:16:56 PM
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For better or worse - and I happen to think it's always better to discuss contentious issues than to ignore them - the "fighting in hockey" debate is raging again.

The only trouble is, there's nothing new in the arguments from either side.

But I'd like to propose a change that might make the dinosaurs and the granola eaters - as they were labeled on the weekend - agree on something.

I want the fans of fighting to be just that - I want them to admit that a hockey game with a fight is better than one without - simply because it's more entertaining.

I want them to say they want the guy from their team to beat up the guy from the other team because it makes them feel good.

I'd like to hear that they want fighting in hockey because it's too long to wait for the next UFC telecast.

I have no argument for that - you like it, I don't - let's carry on as hockey fans.

What I'm tired of hearing is the stuff that attempts to explain the "benefits" of hockey fights, or the "need" to continue them.

They're part of hockey, we are told. So was the red line, until it was removed.

Without fights, players would swing their sticks at each other. Not if they wanted to avoid a long suspension and the possibility of jail time.

You must be able to protect your skilled players. You mean, if you couldn't do it with fists, somebody might try to body check a goal scorer? I'd like to see more of that.

Players need fighting as an outlet. What about players with visors? The pro-fighting lobby itself says they shouldn't fight. So what's their outlet and what's the argument when they're all wearing visors?

Hockey would become less popular and profitable without fights. Ah, but for some reason, customers are willing to pay more money for playoff games than they pay for regular season games and it's the playoff games that seldom contain fights.

Tell me you want hockey to have fights - don't tell me hockey needs to have fights. And we'll all get along better. 


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