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.