Montreal Canadiens' Georges Laraque, left, fights with Philadelphia Flyers' Josh Gratton during a game back in November. ((Graham Hughes/Canadian Press))

The majority of Canadians say they support a ban on fighting in professional hockey.

So says a Canada-wide poll done by Angus Reid and the Toronto Star. Their findings were released on Tuesday.

When asked the question "would you support or oppose a ban on fighting in professional hockey," 61 per cent said yes, and almost half the respondents say it's a distraction to the game.

However, among what Angus Reid calls "self-described hockey fans," 63 per cent oppose the ban entirely, and the same number think fighting is a significant part of the game.

Older Canadians and people who rarely watch hockey had the strongest voices against fighting in the game. Casual hockey fans are split down the middle on the issue, with one half for the ban and the other against it.

Angus Reid polled 1,004 randomly selected adults across the country online on March 13 and 14, yielding an error margin of 3.1 percentage points.