I went to a boxing match the other day and an ice hockey game broke out!

February 22, 2009

criminal law, disciplinary

Source: http://sports.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090127.wspttruth26/GSStory/GlobeSportsHockey/?page=rss&id=RTGAM.20090127.wspttruth26 ; http://sports.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090129.wsptoha29/GSStory/GlobeSportsHockey/?page=rss&id=RTGAM.20090129.wsptoha29

Rick Vaive (former captain for the Toronto Maple Leafs) believes that new rules are needed to curb fighting in professional ice hockey, because the fighting skills of the new generation of players, coupled with their size and strength have made the sport much more dangerous than it ever used to be. What has changed since Vaive’s time, is the fact that Canada has seen two recent tragedies in quick succession to Don Sanderson (who died earlier in January after hitting his head on the ice during a fight in Ontario) and to Garrett Klotz (who suffered a seizure and was taken to hospital after a fight in the AHL) and he hopes that the National Hockey League’s general managers make a serious attempt to examine the issue when they meet in March.

Indeed, one organisation – the Ontario Hockey Association has already made changes. From next season:

  • any player removing his helmet or undoing his chin strap during a fight will be given a gross misconduct penalty and an automatic one-game suspension. The player will be dealt the same penalty if he attempts to take off his opponent’s helmet.
  • Officials have also been instructed to be “more vigilant” in stopping fights.
  • The OHA will also work with helmet manufacturers and the Canadian Standards Association to determine whether the current fastening systems for helmets can be improved.
  • Players who drops the gloves regularly have also been targeted.
  • In addition to receiving an automatic game misconduct for fighting — a policy that was already in place — players who engage in three fights in a season will be given a one-game ban. A fourth fight will result in a two-game suspension, while a fifth fight will lead to a three-game ban. A sixth fighting major will result in an indefinite suspension.

Interestingly though, Dave Andrews (the AHL President) recently commented that: “Can you play without it? Obviously,” he said. “There is no way you can say fighting has to be part of hockey. There are all sorts of great hockey games that don’t have fights in them. I listened to the players in this debate and I haven’t heard any take the position we should eliminate fighting from the game, even the skilled guys.”

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About Kris

Associate Professor in Sports Law, Staffordshire University; British Gymnastics Senior Coach

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    […] I went to a boxing match the other day and an ice hockey game … […]

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