The180

Is it time to ban fighting in hockey?

Is there really a need for fighting in hockey? The debate has cropped up again after future star Connor McDavid broke his hand in a junior hockey fight this week. He's out for 5-6 weeks, and may not be able to play for Canada in the world junior championships. While some hockey aficionados say that sort of injury-- and...

Is there really a need for fighting in hockey? The debate has cropped up again after future star Connor McDavid broke his hand in a junior hockey fight this week. He's out for 5-6 weeks, and may not be able to play for Canada in the world junior championships. While some hockey aficionados say that sort of injury-- and worse-- aren't worth the risk of a fight, others say sparring is what makes the game so great. All that sounds ripe for a 180 debate.

Greg Wyshynksi edits the blog Puck Daddy, and says yes to fighting in hockey. CBC Vancouver's Shane Foxman says no. Wsyhynski happily admits he find fights entertaining, even says he has a "blood lust" for it. Foxman used to like it, but says these days he can't watch a fight for fear a player will end up knocked out cold on the ice.

When guys square off on the ice, to be honest with you, I get a little anxious feeling in my stomach because I'm afraid I'm going to see something bad happen.Shane Foxman

Proponents of fighting says it does more than just entertain. Wyshynski calls it a "release valve," saying it allows players to let off steam in a game that can be very intense. But Foxman disagrees. He says the most intense hockey of the season happens during the playoffs-- when the number of fights also goes down. So if players can get through the post-season without dropping the gloves, he says, why can't they do it all year?

Hockey's an inherently injurious game, and the bottom line is if you're concerned about an injury in a fight, you should be concerned about an injury in hockey.Greg Wyshynski

Foxman admits fighting will never leave the game completely, but says increased penalties would make it more rare. He suggests an automatic removal from the game for fighting, with an escalating scale of suspension lengths depending on the fight. But Wyshynski wonders what would happen if leagues discouraged fighting even more-- would players just hit or slash each other more violently?

What do you think? Listen to the debate and then add your thoughts by email.

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