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George Parros, Colton Orr brawl reignites NHL fighting debate with CBCSports.ca readers

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Montreal Canadiens tough guy George Parros left the game early in the third period after hitting his face on the ice after a fight with Leafs forward Colton Orr. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

It didn't take long for the debate about fighting in hockey to reignite - if, indeed, it had ever been extinguished.

Early in the third period of the Toronto Maple Leafs' season opener against the Montreal Canadiens, George Parros and Colton Orr dropped the gloves and the Canadiens tough guy's hands appeared to get tied up with Orr's. Parros fell forward, nailing his head face-first into the cold, hard surface.

CBC Sports' Tim Wharnsby wrote that he can see both sides of the argument, for and against on-ice fisticuffs.

"Fighting has been part of the game for a long time. But the tide has turned in public opinion (a big part has been media driven) toward this part of the game. That's why hockey people need to get involved in the debate, too."

Readers had a lot to say about the incident, as well, leaving hundreds of comments on CBCSports.ca. As usual, those who called for a ban on fighting in the NHL were met with equally passionate defences for it. 

Some argued that fighting can and should be removed from professional-level hockey.

  • "I am so tired of hearing people say that fighting is part of the game, as if there is nothing that can be done about it. Why not just say that you like fighting and want to keep it? The only reason why fighting still exists in the game of hockey is because we allow it to exist." - Nessecity
  • "Why do the referees allow the fighting to continue? There was a lot of drama leading up to the point where the gloves come off. Shouting, skating around, goading and daring each other. What the hell is this drama? An afternoon soap opera?" - tarl cabbot
  • "What is part of the game? Let's see what is taught as the kids progress ... skating skills, passing skills, shooting skills ... NOT fighting skills. Fighting should not be allowed! It is not part of the game." - Madchemist

Others argued that fighting, enforcers and the aggressive side of hockey is an integral part of the game and that hockey without it won't be the same game.

Some people said the awkward fall that injured Parros was no one's fault, and that the most severe injuries can be freak accidents as much as the result of a brawl.

  • "Really? Do you watch professional hockey? Seems to me there have always been fights at the professional level. How can you say it is not part of the game when it always has been?" - whodoIvote4
  • "Fighting is part of the game and always has been. If the media and people don't like it, go and watch golf or tennis instead." - shades74
  • "So many so-called fans want to change the game from what it has always been. Please, from a true hockey fan, if you don't like it watch something else." - whodolvote4
  • "George hope you are OK. Thanks for sticking up for your teammates and being the true professional you are. Props for Orr for waving the medical staff onto the ice right away. This is was a freak accident, hopefully George suffers no long-term concussion symptoms. George is a great team guy and will be missed, hope he gets back soon." - Ricko3
  • "Fighting in hockey is part of the game. Players choose to play in the NHL on their own free will. Fans watch the sport on their own free will. If you do not like the NHL's rule - simple solution: you have the freedom to watch another sport or TV program. Canada is a free country. That includes making choices you don't agree with, but I know all you progressives want individuals to be 'sheeple' and follow the political correct your way or the high way narrow closed minded views." - Guns N' Freedom

Here are some of the most heated back-and-forth debates on the story on Wharnsby's column.

  • "It's pretty simple. Don't like fighting, don't watch NHL hockey. The crowd always roars it's loudest during an on-ice fight. That is a fact you can take to the bank. This league will lose more fans by banning fighting than they could ever gain. You figure no new fans are being won over because of fighting in the game? You couldn't be more naive. Real hockey fans are sick of you anti-hockey fight whiners. Go watch another sport, there's plenty of 'em out there." - bootselectric
    • "'Real hockey fans' want fighting in the game - really? They will leave if fighting is removed from the game? Maybe that's how we determine the Stanley Cup champions then. Instead of scoring goals we have a WWE style Battle Royale in the middle of an area. Again, the team left standing at the end of this integral part of the game get's the Cup." - raybacchus
    • "You do not get what bootselectric is saying. Emotions run high in a hockey game, always have & always will. Fights break out, always have & always will. If you watched hockey way back in the 60s & 70s you would have seen fights. It's not the fights that determine the score, never did & never will." - Bruin Lover
    • "Foolishness. Emotions run high in all kinds of sports - that's no excuse for fighting." - CSHunt68
  • "Fighting is a part of the game (unfortunately). If you are suddenly against fighting, then where have you been all these years?" - runneymede
    • "Fighting is only part of the game until we say it's not. Pretty simple." - CSHunt68
    • "It's not permitted in any other professional league for a reason. The whole 'it's part of the game' garbage is a tired argument with no reasonable facts to stand on. The truth is it's a savage outdated relic that a few stubborn North American fans cling to." - AaronS
    • "I'm not against it completely, but I loved it as a kid because I didn't think or was aware of the consequences of fighting. The only reason why I think there is a place for it in the game is because there are still cheap-shot artists in the game that don't always drop the gloves, but go out to injure other players. Those are the real threats in the game." - OleGunnar
    • "Mask-less goalies and helmet-less players were also once part of the game. Times change!" - Kenkur

What's your take on the debate about fighting in the NHL? Is fighting an immutable part of the game?

Tags: Community Reaction, Sports

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