Friday, February 20, 2009
NHL Considers Banning Fights -- Are They Nuts?
There has been a lot of talk over the past few months about removing fighting from hockey. Let's be honest, there are a few in the media who continuously bring this up at every opportunity that they can get. Unfortunately this season there have been two incidents in particular (the tragic death of Don Sanderson the result of a fight in the OHA and shortly thereafter a fight in the AHL that resulted in Garrett Klotz being taken off of the ice on a stretcher). This was fodder for the anti-fighting proponents in the media and in the NHL. Ever since it seems like you can't go to TSN.ca without having to read an article that is anti-fighting or listening to a Versus/NBC telecast where one commentator completly rips a part the idea of fighting in hockey.
Despite what some might like you to believe -- for example TSN continues to have headlines on their main page that would have you thinking that most fans want to get fighting out of the game. For example, a headline a few weeks back that indicated that "Majority Want Fighting Eliminated!" -- However, when you read the article you see that the survey was conducted not just of hockey fans but amongst the general population of Canada. In fact the article even specified "68 per cent of NHL fans who follow the NHL closely say the gloves should continue to drop." How can you run an article on the front of your website with such a misleading title? Why would anyone care what a typical Canadian thinks of fighting in hockey? Wouldn't it seem obvious that the people who actually watch hockey, pay for season tickets, pay for individual games, pay for NHL apparel would be the one's whose opinion would count? If 68% of NHL Fans are in favor if fighting -- why is this even an issue?
Did you watch the Adam Graves retirement ceremony a few weeks ago? Among the guests at center ice for the duration of the ceremony were Darren Langdon and Tie Domi, two resident tough guys during their years in the NHL. Langdon and Domi got cheers just as loud (if not louder) as the cheers for Messier, Leetch and Richter. Sounds like the fans hate fighting, huh?
The clear majority of NHL fans are in favor of keeping fighting in the game because they know that it has its place in the game. There are so many reasons why fighting should not be considered a removable element of hockey - but the main reason is it sells! If 68% of Fox viewers said that they enjoyed watching 'The 5:oo News' would they consider removing it from their station?
Every day we turn on the news and hear about the economic crisis that we are having. We hear how NHL teams are having problems selling tickets. How the NHL is not happy with their TV ratings. Yet, continuously on a Sunday afternoon we have to listen to Pierre Maguire of NBC complain about fighting in the NHL (I never thought I'd say this, but thank you Mike Milbury for being an adamant supporter on NBC for fighting to remain part of hockey). Complain about an aspect of the game that the majority of the fans enjoy. Pierre should be the first to know (since he's in attendance at a lot of games) that only one thing gets fans out of their seats as fast as a goal for the home team ---and it's a fight!