What’s This About?
Fighting has been a part of the National Hockey League (NHL) since it was formed in 1917. Players who fight during a game are sent to the penalty box, and those who become very violent may be suspended. In the 2016-2017 NHL season, there were 372 fights out of 1,230 games.
This house believes that fighting should be banned in the NHL.
Fighting can have serious consequences. According to Dr. Charles H. Tator, a neurosurgeon, fighting causes 10 percent of all concussions in hockey. Bill Daly, an NHL official, says, “Fighting raises the incidence of head injuries and concussions, which raises the incidence of depression onset, which raises the incidence of personal tragedies.” Derek Boogaard, a former NHL player, was known for being violent. He was an enforcer, or a player whose purpose was to fight in response to unfair plays by the opposing team. In 2011, when Boogaard died at the age of 28, doctors examined his brain and discovered that he had chronic traumatic encephalopathy. This was caused by repeated head injuries. In fact, two other enforcers died in the same year. According to Men and Masculinities, fighting encourages violent behavior. It says, “Aggression is common in the lives of these hockey players, both on and off the ice.”
Fighting attracts fans and makes the games more interesting. According to the Toronto Star newspaper, a majority of hockey fans are against a fighting ban. In a study from the American Journal of Economics and Sociology, it says that “fighting tends to attract fans in large numbers across the United States and Canada.” Furthermore, a sports writer named Travis Hughes says, “Fighting exists in hockey because we enjoy watching people fight.” John Buccigross, a sports anchor, also says, “Fights can add entertainment value, change a game, and have fans talking for days.” And Rich Clune, a hockey player, explains, “I think the NHL is cognizant of the fact that they can’t eliminate fighting and turn hockey into a non-contact sport, because I don’t think it’ll sell.” We can see that this is true when we visit YouTube and look for hockey fights, which have millions of views.