Should Fighting Be Allowed in Hockey? - Top 3 Pros & Cons
|Thursday, Mar. 1, 2018 | Author: ProCon.org | MORE HEADLINES|
"I went to a fight the other night, and a hockey game broke out," the late comedian Rodney Dangerfield once joked. In the 2016-2017 National Hockey League (NHL) season, there were 372 fights out of 1,230 games – an average of 0.3 fights per game. Fighting in hockey has been banned nearly everywhere outside of the NHL, including youth games, college play, and the Winter Olympics.
Fighting has been part of NHL hockey since the league's formation in 1917 and its 1922 rule about what was then called "fisticuffs" (that's an old-fashioned word for fighting). The current NHL rulebook addresses fighting in Rule 46, which defines a fight as at least one player punching or taking a swing at another player repeatedly, or players wrestling in a way that is difficult to break up. Players who fight are sent to the penalty box during the game, and may be subject to additional fines or suspensions.
In the early 1960s, there was a fight in about 20% of NHL games. That percentage increased to 100% by the 1980s, when there was an average of one fight every game. In 1992, the NHL introduced an instigator rule adding an extra two minutes in the penalty box for anyone caught starting a fight. Fighting has since decreased: a fight broke out in 30-40% of NHL games from 2000-2012, and every season since 2013 has averaged under 30%.
Proponents of allowing fighting in hockey say that it makes the sport safer overall by holding players accountable; draws fans and increases the game's entertainment value; and is a hockey tradition that exists in the official rules and as an unwritten code among players. Opponents of fighting in hockey say that it leads to concussions, mental health problems, and death; sets a bad example for kids; and glorifies violence.
Should fighting be allowed in hockey?
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