Fighting in ice hockey


Fighting in ice hockey

Fighting is an established aspect of ice hockey in North America, with a long history involving many levels of amateur and professional play and including some notable individual fights.Harvnb|Bernstein|2006|p=3] Although a definite source of criticism, it is a considerable draw for the sport, and some fans attend games primarily to see fights.Harvnb|Bernstein|2006|p=36] Fighting is usually performed by one or more enforcers on a given hockey teamHarvnb|Bernstein|2006|p=xix] and is governed by a complex system of unwritten rules that players, coaches, officials, and the media refer to as "the code".Harvnb|Bernstein|2006|p=xxi] Harvnb|Morrison|2007.] Some fights are spontaneous, while others are premeditated by the participants.Harvnb|Bernstein|2006|p=31] While officials tolerate fighting during hockey games, they impose a variety of penalties on players who engage in fights. Unique to North American professional team sports, the National Hockey League (NHL) and most minor professional leagues in North America do not eject players outright for fighting but major European and collegiate hockey leagues do.Harvnb|NCAA|2004|p=61] Therefore, the vast majority of fights occur in the NHL and other North American professional leagues.

Physical play in hockey, consisting of allowed techniques such as checking and disallowed techniques such as elbowing, high sticking, and cross-checking, is inextricably linked to fighting.Harvnb|Bernstein|2006|p=4] Those who defend fighting in hockey say that it helps deter other types of rough play, allows teams to protect their star players, and creates a sense of solidarity among teammates, though many believe it is permitted and encouraged because it helps to draw fans. It is possible for players to become notable solely for their fighting ability. These players are known as "enforcers" (or, more derisively, as "goons").The debate over allowing fighting in ice hockey games is ongoing, with most players, administrators, and fans favoring condoned fisticuffs. Despite its potentially negative consequences, such as heavier enforcers (or "heavyweights") knocking each other out, some administrators are not considering eliminating fighting from the game, as some players consider it essential.Harvnb|McIntyre|2007] Additionally, the majority of fans oppose eliminating fights from professional hockey games.Harvnb|Barrie Examiner|2007] However, considerable opposition to fighting exists and efforts to eliminate it continue.

History

Fedoruk already had titanium plates in his face from a fight earlier in the season. The resulting media coverage of the incident renewed calls for a fighting ban.Harvnb|Dater|2007] Harvnb|Associated Press|2007] Some players acknowledge that there is no harm in discussing the issue;Harvnb|Lebrun|2007] however, most players and administrators continue to insist that fighting stay as a permanent element of organized ice hockey. Some league administrators, such as NHL senior vice-president and director of hockey operations Colin Campbell, have been circulating and considering the idea of banning fighting in response to incidents such as the Fedoruk-Orr fight.Harvnb|Naylor|2007]

Some sports journalists have been articulating the idea with increasing frequency during the 2006–07 NHL season that fighting adds nothing to the sport and should be banned. Among the reasons they cite are that it is unsportsmanlike,Harvnb|Wilson|2007] is a "knee-jerk" reaction that detracts from the skillful aspects of the game,Harvnb|Jenkinson|2007] and that it is simply a waste of time.Harvnb|Gough|2007] Opponents of fighting cite that international and college hockey, which both harshly penalize fighting with suspensions, lack the incidents or "stick work" violence proponents claim to fear, and question what it is about North American professional ice hockey players — unique to major professional team sport — that renders them incapable of controlling themselves on the ice without fighting.Harvnb|Klein|1986]

Community members often become involved in the debate over banning fighting. In December 2006, a school board trustee in London, Ontario attended a London Knights game and was shocked by the fighting and by the crowd's positive reaction to it. This experience led him to organize an ongoing effort to ban fighting in the Ontario Hockey League, where the Knights compete, by attempting to gain the support of other school boards and by writing letters to OHL administrators. On the advice of its Medical Health Officer, the Middlesex-London Health board has supported recommendations to ban fighting across amateur hockey and to increase disciplinary measures to ensure deterrence. [Harvnb|Pollett|2007]

Etiquette

There are several informal rules governing fighting in ice hockey that players rarely discuss but take quite seriously.Harvnb|Bernstein|2006|p=56] The most important aspect of this etiquette is that opposing enforcers must agree to a fight, usually via a verbal or physical exchange on the ice. This agreement helps both players avoid being given an instigator penalty, and helps keep unwilling participants out of fights.Harvnb|Bernstein|2006|p=57]

Enforcers typically only fight each other, with only the occasional spontaneous fight breaking out between one or two opponents who do not usually fight.Harvnb|Bernstein|2006|p=60] Enforcers spend time researching the techniques and weaknesses of other enforcers, and many carry on long-standing rivalries.Harvnb|Bernstein|2006|p=61] There is a high degree of respect among enforcers as well; they will respect a rival who declines a fight because he is playing with injuries, a frequent occurrence, because enforcers consider winning a fight with an injured opponent to be an empty victory.Harvnb|Bernstein|2006|p=100] This is also known as granting a "free pass".Harvnb|Bernstein|2006|p=65]

Long-standing rivalries result in numerous rematches, especially if one of the enforcers has to decline an invitation to fight during a given game. This is one of the reasons that enforcers may fight at the beginning of a game, when nothing obvious has happened to agitate the opponents.Harvnb|Bernstein|2006|p=69] On the other hand, it is bad etiquette to try to initiate a fight with an enforcer who is near the end of his shift, since the more rested player will have an obvious advantage.Harvnb|Bernstein|2006|p=70]

Another important aspect of etiquette is simply fighting fairly and cleanly. Fairness is maintained by not wearing equipment that could injure the opposing fighter, such as face shields, gloves, or masks,Harvnb|Bernstein|2006|p=74] not pulling the opposing fighter's jersey over his head, and not assaulting referees or linesmen.Harvnb|Bernstein|2006|p=73] Finally, whatever the outcome of the fight, etiquette dictates that players who choose to fight win and lose those fights gracefully. Otherwise, they risk losing the respect of their teammates and fans.Harvnb|Bernstein|2006|p=76]

Tactics

Fighting tactics are governed by several actual rules, and enforcers also adopt informal tactics particular to their style and personality.

One tactic adopted by players is known as "going for it", in which the player puts his head down and just throws as many punches as he can, as fast as he can. In the process, that player takes as many punches as he delivers, although some of them are to the hard forehead. Fighters usually must keep one hand on their opponent's jersey since the ice surface makes maintaining balance very difficult. For this reason, the majority of a hockey fight consists of the players holding on with one hand and punching with the other.Harvnb|Bernstein|2006|p=62] Enforcers such as Darren McCarty advocate letting the opposing enforcer get a few punches in before putting in maximum effort, and assert that fighting is as much about knowing how to take a punch as it is about delivering punches.Harvnb|Spence|2003]

Other examples include Gordie Howe's tactic of holding the sweater of his opponent right around the armpit of his preferred punching arm so as to impede his movement. Bob Probert, of the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks, was known to allow his opponents to punch until they showed signs of tiring, at which time he would take over and usually dominate the fight. Some consider long-time enforcer Rob Ray to be the reason that hockey jerseys are now equipped with tie-down straps that prevent their removal; he would always remove his jersey during fights so his opponents would have nothing to grab on to. This is commonly referred to as the "Rob Ray Rule".Harvnb|Bernstein|2006|p=63]

Notable fights and brawls

Some fights have attracted significant media attention due to injuries sustained by one or both participants and other factors.
* Maurice "Rocket" Richard knocked out enforcer Bob Dill twice in one game. Dill had been hired by the New York Rangers specifically to rough up Richard.Harvnb|Fisher|2007]
*World Hockey Association Birmingham Bulls enforcer Dave Hanson, known for his 11-year professional career and role in the movie "Slap Shot", fought hall of famer Bobby Hull of the Winnipeg Jets and in the process got Hull's wig caught in his knuckles. The incident landed Hanson in the news, and irate Winnipeg fans attempted to assault him on his way out of the arena.Harvnb|Bernstein|2006|p=77]
* April 20, 1984 - A second-round playoffs matchup between the Quebec Nordiques and the Montreal Canadiens became a team melee at the end of the second period, after many smaller scaled battles had occurred throughout the game. The teams erupted into battle again before the third period began, provoked by the announcement of penalties and misconducts. A total of 250 penalty minutes and 10 game misconducts were handed out. This game prompted referee Bruce Hood to retire from the NHL once the playoffs ended. [Harvnb|Lemieux|2003]
* January 4, 1987 - The "Punch-up in Piestany". A World Junior Ice Hockey Championships game between Canada and the Soviet Union was the scene of a bench-clearing brawl that lasted 20 minutes and prompted officials to turn off the arena lights in an attempt to stop it. The fighting was particularly dangerous as fighting was a surprise and a custom unknown to the Soviet players, some of whom escalated the fighting beyond what was considered acceptable in North America. The incident caused both teams to be ejected from the tournament, costing Canada an assured medal, and both teams were also barred from the end-of-tournament dinner.Harvnb|CBC|1987] A book by Gare Joyce was written regarding the event.Harvnb|Joyce|2006]
* March 26, 1997, Bloody Wednesday - The Avalanche and the Red Wings engaged in nine fights, including bouts between Darren McCarty and Claude Lemieux and goalies Patrick Roy and Mike Vernon. Lemieux, once ranked by ESPN as the NHL's most hated player, did not drop his gloves and instead bent down to his knees, and covered his head with his gloves to protect himself — a maneuver known as "turtling".Harvnb|Neumann|2007]
* February 9, 2001 - A game between the Nottingham Panthers and the Sheffield Steelers in the British Superleague saw "one of the worst scenes of violence seen at a British ice hockey rink." when Sheffield enforcer Dennis Vial crosschecked Nottingham forward Greg Hadden. Panthers enforcer Barry Nieckar subsequently fought with Vial which eventually escalated into a 36 man bench clearance brawl. Referee Moray Hanson was left with little option but to delay the game for 45 minutes while tempers cooled. Eight players were ejected from the game following the incident. A total of 404 penalty minutes were incurred during the second period, a British record for a single period. [cite web| author = BBC | title = Brawl taints Panthers' victory | url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/other_sports/1163606.stm | accessdate = 2006-12-29 | publisher = bbc.co.uk | year = 2001 ] [cite web| author = CBC | title = British league suspends Canadian hockey brawlers | url = http://www.cbc.ca/sports/story/2001/02/14/brawlers010214.html | accessdate = 2007-12-24 | publisher = cbc.ca | year = 2001 ]
* March 5, 2004 - A Philadelphia Flyers – Ottawa Senators game resulted in five consecutive brawls in the closing minutes of the game, including fights between many players who are not known as enforcers and a fight between Flyers goalie Robert Esche and Senators goalie Patrick Lalime. The game ended with an NHL record 419 penalty minutes.Harvnb|Maaddi|2004]
* February 22, 2007 - Every player on the ice in a Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators game, including goalies Martin Biron and Ray Emery fought following an unpenalized hit and injury to Sabres captain Chris Drury. More than 100 penalty minutes were distributedHarvnb|Associated Press|2007] Failed verification|date=May 2008 Sabres coach Lindy Ruff was fined $10,000 by the NHL. He admitted to sending out a line of enforcers against Ottawa's skilled players and instructing them to "Go out and run 'em."Harvnb|Canadian Press|2007] Ruff also went over the glass and admonished Sens coach Bryan Murray, where (former enforcer) Rob Ray's MSG Network microphone picked up the Buffalo coach yelling to his counterpart, "Don't go after our fucking captain!"Fact|date=September 2008

Notable promoters

* Fighting is a popular component of Don Cherry's "Rock 'em Sock 'em Hockey" video-highlight series. Cherry has made 19 editions of the series which has sold more than a million videos.Harvnb|Maclean's|]
* The Battle of the Hockey Enforcers involved Link Gaetz and featured just fights on ice but with no actual hockey played. The City of Prince George, British Columbia tried but failed to cancel the 2005 sporting event at the city-owned arena.Harvnb|Joyce|2005]
* In 2007, Derek Boogaard of the Minnesota Wild started hockey fighting camps for children, complete with T-shirts splattered with pretend blood. Boogaard argued that the focus was on teaching players how to protect themselves while critics argued that it contradicted efforts to renew youth interest in joining leagues. [Harvnb|Blount|2007]

ee also

*Gordie Howe hat trick
*Pest (hockey)
*Violence in ice hockey

Footnotes

References


* Harvard reference
Surname1 = Allen
Given1 = Kevin
Year = 1999
Title = Crunch: Big Hitters, Shot Blockers & Bone Crushers: A History of Fighting in the NHL
Publisher = Triumph Books
ID = ISBN 1572433035
.
* Harvard reference
Author = Associated Press
Surname1 = Associated Press
Year = 2007
Title = Orr delivers Ranger justice
Journal = Associated Press
URL = http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070322/SPORTS/703220331
Access-date = April 11, 2007
.
* Harvard reference
Author = Associated Press
Surname1 = Associated Press
Year = 2007
Title = Drury injury sparks brawl in Sabres' SO win vs. Sens
Journal = ESPN NHL Scoreboard
URL = http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/recap?gameId=270222002
Access-date = July 20, 2007
.
* Harvard reference
Author = Barrie Examiner
Surname1 = Barrie Examiner
Year = 2007
Title = Keep fighting, hockey fans say
Journal = Barrie Examiner
Date = April 5, 2007
.
* Harvard reference
Surname1 = Bernstein
Given1 = Ross
Year = 2006
Title = The Code: The Unwritten Rules of Fighting and Retaliation in the NHL
Publisher = Triumph Books
ID = ISBN 1-57243-756-1
.
* Harvard reference
Surname1 = Blount
Given1 = Rachel
Year = 2007
Title = Minnesota Wild brawler thumbs nose at hockey purists
Journal = Rochester Post-Bulletin
URL = http://www.postbulletin.com/newsmanager/templates/localnews_story.asp?z=22&a=301113
Access-date = July 20, 2007
.
* Harvard reference
Surname1 = Botterill
Given1 = Cal
Year = 2004
Title = The Psychology of Professional Hockey
Journal = Athletic Insight
Publisher = University of Winnipeg
URL = http://www.athleticinsight.com/Vol6Iss2/ProfessionalHockey.htm
Access-date = April 9, 2007
.
* Harvard reference
Surname1 = Brownlee
Given1 = Robin
Year = 2007
Title = Fighting debate renewed in hockey circles
Journal = Canadian Press
URL = http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/news_story/?ID=201287&hubname=
Access-date = April 16, 2007
.
* Harvard reference
Surname1 = Canadian Press
Given1 =
Year = 2007
Title = NHL fines Sabres coach Lindy Ruff for sending out tough guys in brawl
Journal = NHL website's news section
URL = http://www.nhl.com/nhl/app?articleid=289522&page=NewsPage&service=page
Access-date = July 20, 2007
.
* Harvard reference
Author = CBC
Surname1 = CBC
Year = 1987
Title = Punch-up in Piestany
Journal = Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
URL = http://archives.cbc.ca/IDC-1-41-1984-12742-10/on_this_day/sports/twt
Access-date = April 17, 2007
.
* Harvard reference
Author = CBC Sports
Surname1 = CBC Sports
Year = 2004
Title = 10 Hockey Violence Lowlights
Journal = Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
URL = http://www.cbc.ca/sports/columns/top10/hockey_lowlights.html
Access-date = July 19, 2007
.
* Harvard reference
Surname1 = Dater
Given1 = Adrian
Year = 2007
Title = Debate? Let's drop the gloves
Journal = The Denver Post
URL = http://www.denverpost.com/search/ci_5514998
Date = March 25, 2007
.
* Harvard reference
Surname1 = Dater
Given1 = Adrian
Year = 2006
Title = Blood Feud: Detroit Red Wings v. Colorado Avalanche: The Inside Story of Pro Sports' Nastiest and Best Rivalry of Its Era
Publisher = Taylor Trade Publishing
ID = ISBN 1589793196
.
* Harvard reference
Surname1 = Fisher
Given1 = Red
Year = 2007
Title = Legendary Richard's fire, pride unmatched
Journal = The Gazette
.
* Harvard reference
Surname1 = Gough
Given1 = David
Year = 2007
Title = Fighting not necessary for hockey
Journal = Courier Press (Wallaceburg, Ontario)
Date = April 4, 2007
.
* Harvard reference
Author = Hockeyfights.com
Surname1 = Hockeyfights.com
Year = 2007
Title = NHL Stats
Journal = Hockeyfights.com
URL = http://www.hockeyfights.com/stats/
Access-date = April 4, 2007
.
* Harvard reference
Author = IIHF
Year = 2006
Title = Official Rule Book 2006–2010
URL = http://www.iihf.com/iihf-home/sport/iihf-rule-book.html
Access-date = April 14, 2008
.
* Harvard reference
Surname1 = Jenkinson
Given1 = Mike
Year = 2007
Title = NHL no place for fighting
Journal = Ottawa Sun
Date = April 1, 2007
.
* Harvard reference
Surname1 = Joyce
Given1 = Gare
Year = 2006
Title = When the Lights Went Out: How One Brawl Ended Hockey's Cold War and Changed the Game
Publisher = Doubleday Canada
ID = ISBN 0385662742
.
* Harvard reference
Surname1 = Joyce
Given1 = Greg
Year = 2005
Title = Ontario native Dean Mayrand wins Hockey Enforcers and collects $62,000
Journal = Canadian Press, The (Brockville) Recorder & Times
URL =
.
* Harvard reference
Surname1 = Lebrun
Given1 = Pierre
Year = 2007
Title = Fighting the good fight
Journal = Edmonton Sun
Date = March 24, 2007
.
* Harvard reference
Author = Legends of Hockey
Surname1 = Legends of Hockey
Year = 2007
Title = Lou Fontinato
Journal = Legends of Hockey
URL = http://www.legendsofhockey.net:8080/LegendsOfHockey/jsp/SearchPlayer.jsp?player=12622
Access-date = April 25, 2007
.
* Harvard reference
Surname1 = Lemieux
Given1 = Josie
Year = 2003
Title = A good ol' hockey fight relived
Publisher = Sports Central
URL = http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/4-28-2003-39653.asp
Access-date = April 22, 2007
.
* Harvard reference
Surname1 = Maaddi
Given1 = Rob
Year = 2004
Title = Flyers bully Senators in 5-3 victory
Publisher = USA Today
URL = http://www.usatoday.com/sports/hockey/games/2004-03-06-philly-ottawa_x.htm
Access-date = April 15, 2007
.
* Harvard reference
Surname1 = Maaddi
Given1 = Rob
Year = 2004
Title = Flyers bully Senators in 5-3 victory
Publisher = USA Today
URL = http://www.usatoday.com/sports/hockey/games/2004-03-06-philly-ottawa_x.htm
Access-date = April 15, 2007
.
* Harvard reference
Surname1 = Maclean's
Given1 =
Year =
Title = Cherry: Has He Gone Too Far?
Journal = Maclean's
URL = http://thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=M1ARTM0011700
Access-date = July 21, 2007
.
* Harvard reference
Surname1 = McIntyre
Given1 = Gordon
Year = 2007
Title = Fighting part of hockey: Bettman: Canucks players agree with commissioner about the role of fisticuffs
Journal = The Vancouver Province
Date = March 27, 2007
.
* Harvard reference
Author = National Hockey League
Surname1 = National Hockey League
Year = 2007
Title = NHL Rulebook Rule 56
Journal = National Hockey League
URL = http://www.nhl.com/hockeyu/rulebook/rule56.html
Access-date = April 4, 2007
.
* Harvard reference
Author = National Hockey League
Surname1 = National Hockey League
Year = 2007
Title = NHL Rulebook Rule 72
Journal = National Hockey League
URL = http://www.nhl.com/hockeyu/rulebook/rule72.html
Access-date = April 4, 2007
.
* Harvard reference
Surname1 = Naylor
Given1 = David
Year = 2007
Title = Fight On?
Journal = The Globe and Mail
Date = March 23, 2007
.
* Harvard reference
Author = NCAA
Surname1 = NCAA
Year = 2004
Title = 2004 NCAA Ice Hockey Rules and Interpretations
Journal = NCAA
URL = http://www.ncaa.org/library/rules/2004/2004_ice_hockey_rules.pdf
Access-date = April 6, 2007
.
* Harvard reference
Surname1 = Neumann
Given1 = Thomas
Year = 2007
Title = Happy anniversary to Red Wings, Avalanche
Publisher = ESPN
URL = http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=neumann/070326
Access-date = April 12, 2007
.
* Harvard reference
Surname1 = Pollett
Given1 = Graham L.
Year = 2007
Title = Correspondence
Journal = Middlesex-London Health Unit
Date = February 9, 2007
.
* Harvard reference
Surname1 = Rodrigues
Given1 = Hugo
Year = 2006
Title = Board wants ban of OHL fighting
Journal = Woodstock Sentinel-Review
Date = December 20, 2006
.
* Harvard reference
Surname1 = Schwartz
Given1 = Larry
Year = 2007
Title = The ageless wonder
Publisher = ESPN
URL = http://espn.go.com/sportscentury/features/00014262.html
Access-date = December 7, 2007
.
* Harvard reference
Surname1 = Spence
Given1 = Ron
Year = 2003
Title = Darren McCarty: Enforcing by Committee
Publisher = Hockey Enforcers
URL = http://hockeyenforcers.com/profiles/nhl/mccarty.html
Access-date = April 12, 2007
.
* Harvard reference
Surname1 = Wilson
Given1 = P.
Year = 2007
Title = Hockey brawls ruin a once grand game
Journal = Windsor Star
Date = February 27, 2007
.

Further reading


* Harvard reference
Surname1 = Allen
Given1 = Kevin
Year = 1999
Title = Crunch: Big Hitters, Shot Blockers & Bone Crushers: A History of Fighting in the NHL
Publisher = Triumph Books
ID = ISBN 1572433035
.
* Harvard reference
Surname1 = Bernstein
Given1 = Ross
Year = 2006
Title = The Code: The Unwritten Rules of Fighting and Retaliation in the NHL
Publisher = Triumph Books
ID = ISBN 1-57243-756-1
.

External links

* [http://hockeyenforcers.com/index.html Hockeyenforcers.com]
* [http://www.hockeyfights.com Hockeyfights.com]


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