A knockout punch during the Leafs-Sens game Wednesday night left Dave Dziurzynski, 23, with a concussion and left many readers debating whether fighting belongs in Canada's beloved game.
An overwhelming majority of Globe readers voted no in our poll and took to the comments pages to explain why.
Here is a look at readers who argued against fighting in hockey, and some who feel it's just a part of the game:
I watched the first few minutes of the Ottawa-Toronto game last night with my four- and five-year-old kids. If someone can help me explain to them why a person was knocked out in a meaningless hockey fight, please let me know. Give me a proper, logical argument to present to a child and I will then support fighting.
Many fans enjoy bloodsport, having brawlers feeds off the frenetic energy of the crowd, and we see a heightened level of excitement as a result. Pair that with the common perception of hockey as a "tough guy's sport" (it has never sold on being a "gentleman's game”). Add to that a reluctance to change the rules from many players, who only have a career because of their brawling ability, and you have a scenario where although the negative realities of fighting probably outweigh the benefits, it will continue. In short, fighting is an integral part of the game so long as hockey is a spectator sport because it's what the mob wants to see. But somewhat shamefully, I'll admit I'm part of that mob.
At the NHL level hockey is more about entertainment and making money, it just happens to be sport-related. You wouldn't take your young children to a Hollywood movie that shows gratuitous violence or sexual depravity would you? Maybe NHL hockey should come with warning labels like they use for Hollywood movies.
If nothing changes, sooner or later, someone is going to get literally killed out there by either a punch to the temple or getting knocked out and hitting their head on the ice. It is inevitable. The boys are just too big and physical. Ban the "staged fight." It is not difficult, as the refs know exactly what's going on.
If I wanted tickets to a punch-up, I would by UFC or a boxing match tickets. How the hell did fighting, staged, expected or otherwise, become a mainstream part of the game? I have abandoned hockey entirely as a spectator; I watch Premier and European league soccer - I get 90 minutes of pure game, for the most part.
This is just another emphatic reason to realize that smart parents are encouraging their talented, athletic sons to choose any sport other than hockey.
Remember when the purpose of a bodycheck used to be to displace a player from the puck and not this intent to injure that has come into the game for over a decade. There is nothing wrong with good clean physical hockey. This other stuff takes away from a great sport.
Endim I Knopp
One just shakes their head after having watched & played for decades. The hockey culture won't stand for the needed change ... even as the talent pool ebbs.
This is NOT what hockey is or should be. We do NOT need to witness people getting beaten up, punched-out and injured to enjoy a great, fast paced skills filled game. Take these goons out of the game, and put an end to the fights.
I presume the growing problem with violence in hockey will eventually be decided in the courts after a huge class action lawsuit on behalf of men whose lives and health have been knowingly sacrificed by the league and by owners. That and the continuing fall off in hockey enrollment by smart parents. So be it.
I used to like fighting. I felt the adrenaline rush of watching two guys go at it. I understand why people like it. But with the evidence of the damage that concussions do to people, and with the number of injuries sustained in fights, I just don't understand how any thinking person can argue that fighting belongs in the game. The game is beautiful and intense without the fighting. Get rid of it.
I find it disturbing in this day and age, that fighting in hockey still exists. I would be very disappointed if a hockey game broke out in the middle of round 2 of a mixed martial arts match. Come on NHL, grow some stones and eradicate the fighting. It's a dinosaur rummaging around in the attic of the modern day game. Play with talent, and finesse, not just brute strength.
We allow hockey players to fight like animals and knock each other out for our pleasure. We don't allow dogs or roosters to fight for our entertainment. Where's the logic in that?
Fights ARE necessary as long as pests are allowed in the game. Guys who go out to throw elbows, knees, or hits from behind on the opponents top players are the reason for fighters. Until the rules protect the skill players, it's the tough guys job - and two thumbs up to them for stepping in to protect a little guy.
Fighting is part of the game. Always has been and always will be. Sometimes when people fight, they get hurt. It's not a tickling contest.
Hockey didn't get to be the most loved sport in this country by playing a non-physical and non-violent game. I for one like the sport and those who don't should watch something else and please stop trying to change hockey.
If you have played hockey you understand why the physical roughness, rivalries and fights exist. It’s a fast, emotional and rough game. It is what makes the game exciting! But slowly more and more of the exciting parts of the game are being removed. THIS is professional hockey folks! These are big boys who have come a long way to be playing in this league and fans pay a lot to watch a REAL game of hockey.
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