Why do hockey players fight so much?

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What is it with hockey? Why do hockey players fight so much more often that other athletes? I'm working on a theory, and it has something to do with the fact that hockey is a physical sport played out at very high speeds. But I'm not sure. What do you think?

-- Ann (ann@sporto.org), November 15, 1999


Fighting in hockey...well, my opine about why this happens is...one reason: Tradition. Thats the way it's always been! AND, it is accepted, always has been as PART of the game! Plain and simple! You and I have grown up WITH this tradition, seeing this tradition, so...? There ya go! ;-) Take care! Steve

-- Steven Johnston (stevendj@uswest.net), November 16, 1999.

I both play hockey and coach a Bantam team. The guys that I coach get into fights when they're frustrated. This usually happens when they feel the other team has gotten away with a dirty hit or have gotten away with a number of things without getting called for a penalty.

On the team which I play for, most of the fights break out after a steady stream of "friendly" dialog and liberal stick placements.

Fighting in hockey's an equalizer to make sure that a given player can't get away with some foul without facing recriminations. (ie, in soccer the ref is right on top of the action - this may not be the case in hockey) Also, the game has a certain "flow" to it. In football, time is measured out into a series of downs, where a player's objective and the time to achieve the objective is fairly well set. After the down has finished, a football player has to refocus for the next play.

-- Aaron (akaiway@sfu.ca), November 18, 1999.

Why is there so much fighting? Sure you can say its tradition, but you should probably simply say, "because its tolerated!" You don't have fighting in Europe. You don't have fighting in the Olympics. Well, actually you might, but the players pay the ultimate price of getting ejected from the game IMMEDIATELY!

Devils/Sharks game is a case in point. Brant Myres and Christan Oliwa obviously planned to fight before the game even started. Less than a couple minutes in, they throw their sticks and gloves aside, roll up their sleeves and square off. Next shift out of the box, same damn thing! The refs kicked them both out. This was in the first period. Neither team had an advantage and I'd dare say neither team gained an advantage from it either. After that, there weren't many penalties (called or uncalled).

However, part-in-parcel, the leagues, especially in the NHL, needs to crack down on for cheap shots and intent to injure. If that's cut down, then maybe there'll be less fighting?

-- Robert Marshall (robertjm@hockeyhockeyhockey.com), November 30, 1999.

I think there is fighting in hockey for several reasons, and agree with what the coach said earlier about frustration. However, hockey is a full contact sport - you are hitting and slamming people all the time. Sometimes that gets you mad - and makes you want to fight in order to save face or protect your buds. Also, I think the NHL has many fights in order to protect key players - i.e. you hit our star and the gorilla is coming after you.

I was watching a QMJHL (http://www.canoe.com/CHLQMJHL/home.html) game the other week and there were 5 or 7 fights between 2 teams who do not have a lot of history. I am not sure what that was about but the players were really competing and really trying to win, and their emotions were high.

Anyway, that's my take on it. Cheers - PLAY HOCKEY!!

-- Paul Berry (jpaulberry@hotmail.com), December 08, 1999.

i think players fight sometimes when they feel that "its not fair" or "if he/she can get away with it why cant i?" but the game isnt fighting its frustration or blowing off steam the game would be better if there were no fights cause no would have more time to fit in a tie breaking goal or something like that it just takes up time and they should take out their agressions on hitting the puck instead of someones face

-- mary (rustygrl416@aol.com), December 13, 1999.

THeres fighting un hockey in hockey coz t makes you feel good. There's nothing like throwing a damn fine check, ramming some poor player into the boards or landing a good punch. The difference is some of it's legal, some of it you sit for, but it all feels the same, even better if you get away with it. So thats why, just to see how far you can wind up the other team before they react and give away a poweplay.

-- kim (kim.e@dial.pipex.com), December 22, 1999.

There's not enough fighting in hockey. There aren't good fights anymore. It's all because fighting isn't tollerated. people used to fight for revenge, honor, or to protect a star player. Now instead of fighting everybody just go after the guy with his stick. I think that two guys dropping the gloves and going toe-to-toe, one-on-one, is better than someone getting a huge concussion from a stick to the head.

-- Brandon Nahrgang (nahrgang18@hotmail.com), July 20, 2001.

Helmets. Helmets are the reason.

Don't get me wrong, I wear one, and think it would be foolish not to ... unless no one else wore one.

Mandatory helmets have led to more high sticking. It simply wasn't as big an issue when there were few helmets and no one wore a shield unless they were recovering from an injury. The sticks are up, and if someone puts a blade to the face of Joe Sakic, then guess what? Scott Parker is on him like white on rice.

Everything the pros do is emulated from the smallest pee wee player to the guy who plays twice a week. If anyone gets a stick around my neck, I make sure to tell them, and the ref, it's unacceptable right away. I don't have a guaranteed salary, and my boss won't pay me to sit home with a recreational injury. Likewise, I won't start a fight because I can't show up to work with broken knuckles and black eyes. But I can see how others get so frustrated about it. The solution is to make sure it stops at the earliest level. I do some work in the striped shirt with kids. Any high stick gets a penalty. It takes a few calls, but by the end of the 1st period, it stops.

-- Buck (adbar@bigfoot.com), December 12, 2001.

First of all, everyone is trying to narrow it down to one reason or another as to why we hockey players fight, and let me tell you there is no specific reason. The reasons change like the days. There are just days in your life that make you feel like fighting, and days that you would rather not. On the days you feel like it, anything can set you off: a cheap hit, high stick, slash, stupidity, words, bad refs, and so on. Whether I feel like it or not, there are certain things that will allways cause me to fight. I'm a defenceman, and the one sure way to get yourself "killed" (ie. hard check / fight) is to go after my goalie. In my eyes, goalies are (essetially) defenceless. Their main focus is on the puck, not the game around it. So if some player is heading in to hit the "G", chances are he (the goalie) won't see it comming. I will usually give one verbal threat if I see that the contact was an accident. However, if the contact was blatant, I suggest you start praying. I will treat you the same as if you attacked my 6 year old daughter. The second thing that really gets me out of controll is a cheap shot from behind. Slash, trip, hit, or anything delivered to a players blind side (behind) is punishable by absolute abuse. Don't get me wrong... I'm not some out of controll goon, but I will stand up for my players if called upon. The truth is that it's different for every player. Tradition, tollerance, emotion, and even straight up aggressiveness are all contributing factors, but there will allways be fighting in hockey simply because... it is war on the rink... you have to fight for every inch... and sometimes you just get carried away.

-- dj:EKG (ekg13@mail.com), December 10, 2002.

Fighting is tradition, frustration, revenge, punishment in hockey, yes. It also a sport where fast, hard hitting athletes are using what can be very dangerous and possibly lethal weapons to play with. So by allowing the players to fight hand to hand, straps on back of jersey to prevent pull overs, fight until they hit the ice etc, semi- controlled fighting, it will prevent them from using their sticks. Sound silly but who's to say its not true. Its not as barbaric as it looks. note:- I play hockey

-- emil neu (cross_swords2000@yahoo.com), December 26, 2002.

Maybe they just need anger management classes, I dunno. I think Jody Shelley fights for the publicity, though.

-- Kelsey O. (zherdevfan13@aol.com), January 27, 2004.

I do not get hockey and why do the men fight so much. all they get is a cup that says "stanley", on it. i mean who wants a cup that already has someones name on it?

-- Morgan Lyn Reveille (mreveille@columbus.rr.net), July 09, 2004.

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