It would seem that a consensus is slowly emerging regarding fighting in Ice Hockey. Paul Kelly (Executive Director of the National Hockey League Players’ Association) has now added his voice to the debate, saying that he did not believe that all fighting should be banned, however:
“Hypothetically,” Kelly said, “should we consider some kind of rule about helmets, that you need to keep them on during fights and do we instruct our officials that when a helmet comes off, that they should step in and stop the fight? That’s one of the things we should look at.”
Kelly said the other aspect of fighting that needs to be reviewed is “the fights that appear to be the most dangerous in our sport, the ones engaged in by the super-heavyweights, the 6-foot-7, 250-plus-pound players who frankly, just on the basis of sheer size and strength, have the ability to deliver really damaging blows. My view has always been, if the fight arises out of the emotion and spontaneity of the game, if you’re rising to the defence of a teammate or yourself as a result of a perceived dirty hit, then that’s all a natural part of the game,” he said.
“On the other hand, if it’s a staged fight — one of those events, just the two heavyweights, not precipitated by some hockey play and in some instances, prearranged [sometimes by text message before the game], if they just decide to drop the gloves prior to a faceoff or a certain designated point in the period — those are fights that we ought to take a serious look at and consider whether there’s some way to reduce or potentially to eliminate those.”