Ontario Hockey League Outlaws "Staged" Fighting

referee hockey fight

Photo: sashafatcat via Flickr

The Ontario Hockey League, a junior league whose players are often drafted by NHL teams, is taking a small step towards outlawing fighting in hockey.A new rule, which will take effect November 26, calls for an ejection and automatic one-game suspension for any fight that takes place immediately after the puck-drop of the beginning of a period.

Fighting is a hot point of contention among hockey fans, but this rule is a less-controversial step toward cleaning up the game by the OHL.

These ‘staged fights’ are often agreed upon, tacitly or vocally,before games between two known fighters from opposing teams. They are different from fights that happen during the course of a game which usually occur because of surging emotion, protecting teammates, or attempting to swing momentum. The OHL evidently feels ‘staged fights’ accomplish nothing and are unnecessary violence.

At this time the NHL has no public plans to change its fighting rules, but it is a frequently discussed topic among the hockey community. Perhaps if the next generation of players grow up in a league without fighting, they won’t be eager to continue the practice as pros.

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