Linesmen move in to break up a fight between the Edmonton Oil Kings Colton Kehler and Red Deer Rebels forward Brandon Cutler on Wednesday night. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate staff)

Linesmen move in to break up a fight between the Edmonton Oil Kings Colton Kehler and Red Deer Rebels forward Brandon Cutler on Wednesday night. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate staff)

Fighting in junior hockey is past the expiration date

The debate about fighting in hockey is tiring, cyclical and repetitive.

As many debates in the modern era, both sides choose to try and be the one to have their voice heard the loudest, instead of listening to the arguments on either side.

After watching another WHL game where several frivolous fights broke out, there’s no point in staying quiet anymore.

It’s clear to see that a large majority of fans come to games expecting to see fisticuffs of the older days, where the fight didn’t end until someone was bloody or fell from exhaustion.

However, as the game trends towards a safer, fast-paced, skilled and yet still entertaining version of those days, most fights today neither last very long or provide much of anything.

In junior hockey, they typically end in 10 seconds or less and usually stop as a result of one player falling down or wrestling his opponent to the ground.

The linesmen are doing an ever improving and critical job of protecting the players from themselves by jumping in quickly when one fighter is tossed to the ground, which wasn’t always the case.

Making the game safer is a slow and agonizing process, but a necessary one.

Another point of contention is the long-standing belief of some that fights change the momentum of games. I’ll be the first to admit I’ve seen it happen on occasion before, which is why I think a complete eradication of fighting in hockey will probably never happen.

Players know it, coaches know it, fans and referees all know, and they have seen it happen at one point in their lives as well.

The heat of the moment reaction of two teenagers getting tangled up in a fast-paced environment in front of 4,000-plus fans is hard to stop completely.

The biggest change will come when players start to become more cognizant of the fact that fighting just isn’t what it used to be, and the dangers far outweigh the cost of participation.

The problem with that?

Being a teenager, like WHL players are, is exactly the time when kids toe the line of precarious situations and wrestle with the potential consequences.

Only these kids are doing it on a bigger stage than all of their peers.

The players all know the concussion protocol and know the dangers of fighting. They get educated every season on it, yet it’s still happening.

With the changing knowledge of what successive blows to the head can do to an individual health long term, it’s clear hockey has taken it’s best shot at trying to curb fighting without outright banning it.

Suspensions are probably the next step, with a one-game ban for every fight being the next change to help further prevent the practice.



Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Heather Buelow, owner of Aerial Edge Studio in Blackfalds, says she has spent ‘all of my saving keeping the studio going’ through government-mandated shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Contributed photo)
Either open in-person or close permanently: Central Alberta yoga studio defying rules

A central Alberta woman is allowing clients back into her yoga and… Continue reading

(MaxPixel)
Sandra Schmirler Foundation donates $10,000 to Red Deer hospital

Donation will go towards electronic fetal heart monitoring project

A sustainability audit for Westerner Park suggested 33 changes, including more city involvement. (Advocate file photo)
Westerner Park expands volunteer program

As Westerner Park refocuses the organization, they are reigniting their emphasis on… Continue reading

Ukraine’s leader requests a talk with Putin, gets no answer

Ukraine’s leader requests a talk with Putin, gets no answer

Madelyn Boyko poses along with a number of the bath bombs she makes with her mom, Jessica Boyko. Madelyn says she enjoys making the bath bombs with her mom as it is a special time for just the two of them. (Photo Submitted)
5-year-old Sylvan Lake girl selling bath bombs in support of younger brother

Madelyn Boyko is selling bath bombs for CdLS research in honour of her younger brother

Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on December 11, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Patrick Doyle
New regulator to stop sexual exploitation of children online: public safety minister

OTTAWA — Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says the government will introduce… Continue reading

Gordon Greenwood Elementary Grade 7 students were assigned to write about climate change. The Langley Advance Times is pleased to present a selection of their writings. (Sasha/Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions increased slightly in 2019: report

OTTAWA — A new report shows Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions increased slightly… Continue reading

Conservative leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. Top Tory leaders of past and present will speak with supporters today about what a conservative economic recovery from COVID-19 could look like. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
O’Toole to vote against Conservative MP’s private bill on ‘sex-selective abortion’

OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says he will vote against a… Continue reading

Eugene Kwon of Gratia Bakery and Cafe says the business will be relying on take out orders and a small patio. (Neil Corbett/The News)
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

OTTAWA — A group representing thousands of the country’s small businesses says… Continue reading

Ron Howard is photographed at the "Inferno" film premiere on Oct. 25, 2016 in Los Angeles. (Buckner/Rex Shutterstock/Zuma Press/TNS)
Brothers Ron and Clint Howard have memoir coming in October

NEW YORK — Filmmaker-actor Ron Howard and actor Clint Howard, brothers, former… Continue reading

FILE - In this Saturday, March 27, 2021 file photo, Buffalo Sabres’ Taylor Hall plays against the Boston Bruins during the second period of an NHL hockey game, in Boston. The Buffalo Sabres could trade 2018 MVP Hall, who signed for just this season and is a pending free agent. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)
Boston Bruins acquire Taylor Hall to kick off NHL trade deadline day

Trade deadline day in the NHL has started with the Boston Bruins… Continue reading

Most Read