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March 17, 2009

Hockey Fights: Poll Results

CANADA/ENTERTAINMENT - The fight over hockey fights is far from over.

A new poll today shows that 63% of Canadian hockey fans want fighting in the game, but 61% of Canadians think fighting should be banned.

So where does that leave hockey fights and the future of hockey in Canada?

Well, legally, they're not supposed to be fighting in the first place. Police have been turning a blind eye to manslaughter incidents where teenagers and adults have been killed in hockey fights.

Parents and loved ones however are saying the time has come to ban hockey fights, and they're not about to give up and quit. The deaths of hockey players have galvanized these people in seeking a permanent ban on hockey fights.

The pro-fighting crowd believes that the 63% of hockey fans who say they support fighting in hockey may believe the discussion is over, but its evidently far from over. The other 37% of hockey fans who oppose hockey fights aren't about to give up this legal fight especially since the majority of Canadians disapprove of hockey fights.

The case against hockey fighting has been growing over the past 25 years, with evidence that it doesn't just cause death, but also permanent brain damage similar to boxers and football players.

The pro-fighting crowd still rules the roost (hockey fighters setting their own agenda), which means in the NHL, North American minor pro hockey and major junior hockey in Canada engaging in a fight generally only means a five-minute major penalty.

But sanctions and new rules continue to grow, including new ones proposed by NHL general managers just last week.

In the 1970s bench-clearing brawls were common, but that was eventually banned.

Today, in the OHL and QMJHL there are new rules that call for using the instigator penalty more aggressively, to send a message to players fighting may well cost them the game.

So change is coming and its unstoppable. Hockey will become a greater sport when fighting vanishes from the landscape.

And then there's the NHL playoffs, the most sacred time of year to hockey fans... a time during which hockey fights are already banned.

So if hockey fights are banned during the playoffs, why isn't it banned the rest of the year?

See Also:
Hockey Fight in Canada
Wayne Gretzky and the Death of Hockey

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