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The conference raised awareness of issues surrounding violence that occur in all levels of hockey. ((Courtesy Kevin Light))

Fighting should be banned from hockey at all levels, from the littlest leagues across the country to the NHL, parents, coaches and officials said a symposium on Tuesday in London, Ont.

"There's a growing number of people in Canada who love hockey, but feel there's no longer a place for fighting in the game," Dr. Graham Pollett, medical officer of health with the Middlesex-London Health Unit, said in a  release.

"Our ultimate goal in holding this symposium is a ban on fighting in hockey and the kind of on-ice violence that causes injuries," Pollett said.

The "Violence in Hockey Symposium," hosted by the Middlesex-London Health Unit, raised awareness of violence issues in all levels of hockey.

"There is overwhelming support here to eliminate violence [in hockey]. No one would contest that. But it's whether or not the NHL would eliminate fighting," said CBC Sports'  Scott Russell, a guest speaker at the symposium.

"There's agreement from what I've seen at the symposium that fighting shouldn't exist at a minor-league level … but then people say, 'How do you eliminate it? Well, you should eliminate the role model who says it's good — but the role model is the NHL," Russell said.

Other guest speakers included:

  • Ken Campbell, sports writer with the Hockey News.
  • Dave Simpson, former London Knights and Team Canada captain (1982).
  •  George Black, president of Sports Officials Canada.
  • Bryan Lewis, consultant for the East Coast Hockey League.

Other panelists were Bernie Pascall, author of the B.C.-commissioned report Eliminating Violence in Hockey, and Dr. Ken Bocking, a surgeon and team doctor.

Presentation topics included concussions and health effects of hockey, a West Coast perspective on violence in hockey, and rules of the game and the media's connection to violence in the sport.