In the wake of recent discussions regarding fighting in the NHL, I feel I have to voice my opinion on to why it is so important in this league. The action of throwing down the fist cuffs and landing some hay makers on another human beings' face is certainly violent and dangerous, but not to that degree in hockey. This sport has lain its foundation on selling an up-pace, aggressive, hard nosed, intensity game ever since the league began in 1917. The art of fighting in the NHL is not just two goons who pound each other senseless for the simple act of retribution. It's a cornerstone of the game that can define a team's turn around and gain of momentum. It is also a selling point to those who are new to the game. Despite what some may think, this violent and aggressive action is what most fans enjoy to see. It is what separates the NHL from other sports. It has defined itself... do not take that away.
While many complain of cheap shots, like hitting the head, intent to injure, hitting from behind, etc., these are situation that are often run on emotions of the players who seek revenge on a certain player. It's a gutless act, but can you imagine the impact of removing fighting after seeing this? Fighting is not only a momentum gaining tactic, it's a dance that also vents two players frustrations on one another. Without fighting, how do players react to plays they don't like? Well, you'd see an increase on dirty plays which many fear is affecting the sports popularity.
To touch back on the roots of the game, fighting is also a factor in a teams success. Without a ''goon'', so to speak, who defends the all-star player? Who makes players think twice about roughing up their players or most importantly, the goaltender? Fighting in hockey is a message, or a tool rather to better define what the game is about.
Also, let's not forget about the fans. An aspect of the game that can lower or higher the spirits of a team. When a home teams' player wins a fight, when does it not jolt a burst of energy to the fans, which then translates to the players? Like it or not, fighting is a big part in the great game of hockey, it affects the many facets that makes this game so coveted by hockey fans around the world.
Thanks for reading.