Since I was 7 I have played organized hockey, and ever since I started playing I have always been aware of the fights that occur at various levels of hockey. While the penalty for fighting in youth hockey is great, suspension, it still happens. In juniors and the leagues under the NHL (except college) fighting is very much alive and is used as a way to protect players as well as pumping up teammates and settling a score.
In the NHL, fighting is used in the same way. Fighting in the NHL is either considered an awesome part of the game, or people hate it. Some people have said that the reason hockey will never become as popular as the big three sports in the US, (football, basketball and baseball) is because of the fighting. While I find some truth in this statement, I find that removing fighting would have greater implications as it would affect the integrity of the game.
I believe that if players are not able to fight the incidents of cheap shots will increase as there would be no risk of having to answer for your actions during the game. In college hockey, players are not allowed to fight, which causes a player who otherwise would be more reserved to act like an idiot. They know that if the ref doesn’t see what he does then there will be little the other team can do to get back at him.
Hockey is unlike any other mainstream sport in the world and I think that fighting should remain. If people cannot look past the fighting to see the level of skill the guys in the NHL have today, then they should probably not watch hockey. It is unique to the sport and I feel it should be looked at as part of the game, not a black-eye for the sport. What do you guys think about fighting in hockey? The following article outlines some arguments for fighting in hockey and offers counter arguments as well.