Quebec hockey league pledges to help curb fighting
On the heels of a highly publicized brawl involving Patrick Roy's son, the Quebec government is urging the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League to help draft rules aimed at curbing on-ice violence.
Quebec Minister of Education, Sport and Leisure Michelle Courchesne and QMJHL commissioner Gilles Courteau made the announcement Friday at a news conference in Montreal.
Courchesne has requested that the QJMHL and Hockey Quebec submit for approval, before the end of June, a bylaw proposal aimed at stopping acts of violence in hockey.
"We decided to quickly take action," Courchesne said. "Therefore, I communicated with my provincial and territorial counterparts to initiate talks on the question of fighting within hockey. I also asked that this matter be added to the agenda of the next meeting of the ministers responsible for sports slated for May, in Victoria, in order to implement measures to stop fighting in hockey in Canada.
"We want to make sure that athletes, trainers and managers act, in victory or in defeat, in a manner in which we can all be proud."
The move followed the suspension of Quebec Remparts goalie Jonathan Roy for seven games on Tuesday for his actions during a weekend brawl in a QMJHL playoff game against the Chicoutimi Saguenéens. The incident, shown countless times on highlight shows, has sparked a debate over the role of fighting in amateur hockey.
Roy, 19, bolted across the ice to pound Bobby Nadeau, the Chicoutimi goaltender, who offered no resistance. Roy then gave fans at the Centre Georges-Vezina a one-fingered salute with each hand before scrapping with another Chicoutimi player.
Roy was also fined $500 for his behaviour, while his father, a retired NHL star, was suspended five games for his role as coach of the Remparts. The younger Roy later publicly apologized.
Saguenéens players and their coach, Richard Martel, were also suspended and fined over the melee.
Several other incidents have occurred during the first round of the Quebec league playoffs that have resulted in a number of suspensions and fines being levied.
Courteau said that though fighting is down in the QMJHL, the league is on board with taking anti-fighting measures.
"Although our statistics demonstrate that the fighting rate within our league has significantly decreased over the past five years, by supporting Minister Courchesne's initiative, the QJMHL sets the tone in its ongoing consultation process with its partners," Courteau said.
"All of these joint efforts will enable us to make the best decision regarding regulating fighting in Canadian major junior hockey."