Tuesday, January 6, 2009

So what about fighting in hockey?

Although it is not allowed at PIRA, fighting is what sets Ice Hockey apart from other sport. It has a long history throughout amateur and pro play. Although it has been a definite source of criticism, fighting continues to pack the stands and it is encouraged. Ever heard "I went to a fight over at the pond and a hockey game broke out."? People live to see grown men fight on a slippery surface. Every team has an enforcer. He is the "fighter", "tough guy" or "goon".

An enforcer's job is to deter and respond to dirty or violent play by the opposition. When such play occurs, the enforcer is expected to respond. Some times the goon is the goalie. Take the Dominican Daddy's hero Ron Hextal for example:


So why do they take off their helmets during a fight? Why not protect that pretty mug?

The only rule for face protection during a fight that I could find is if a player penalized as an instigator of an altercation is wearing a face shield (including the Dominican Daddy), he shall be assessed an additional unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Should the player who instigates the fight be wearing a face shield, but removes it before instigating the altercation, the additional unsportsmanlike conduct penalty shall not apply. Certainly part of the reason is a sort of a Victorian-era code that still lives deep in the heart of the game. NHL players who choose to wear visors are regularly subject to harassment by their peers on the ice.

It is my guess fighting will always be a part of hockey in the NHL. Why don't we do in in Moscow? I guess we would rather drink beer out of numbered mugs and talk about Don Cherry re-runs.

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