If you have been following hockey news this summer, you will have seen that the QMJHL has effectively banned fighting in their league. This has had many people talking about banning fighting in hockey. As of this upcoming season, any fights during QMJHL games will result in an automatic ejection and a potential multi-game suspension. According to new league regulations, anyone declared the instigator will be slapped with a one game suspension. While anyone deemed to be an aggressor will face a two game suspension. Additionally, any players who engage in more than 1 fight per season, starting with their 2nd fight, will be automatically suspended for one game regardless of their role in the fight.
Some of you are probably thinking “a hockey league banning fighting? That’s insane.” That reaction makes a lot of sense given the sport’s history and how fighting is intertwined with it. This is actually a good thing though, and I’m going to tell you why. The QMJHL is the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. It is viewed as a professional developmental league for players who range mostly from the ages of 16 to 20. Obviously, the players in this league are incredibly skilled, but nevertheless, it is a developmental league that seeks to embolden young players with both proper knowledge and experience so that they may excel in professional hockey.
There are professional leagues where they allow fighting. It completely makes sense that they should be allowed to fight of your own volition in those leagues. However, the focus of the league is not on entertainment, but growth and sportsmanship. Add to that these young adults and sometimes even children are still growing, and it makes sense that the responsible thing to do at a management level is to ban fighting. It eliminate unnecessary risk to the players’ development (head injuries, hand injuries, etc.) from the league. It also reinforces the importance of being a respectful player at the professional level.
Many people do not view it this way and are worried that fighting will be taken out of hockey completely. However, the sentiment regarding the whole ban has been blown out of proportion. It has been very reactionary and unnecessarily strong. This ban is not about taking fighting away from hockey. The ban is about taking the necessary precautions to make sure that the children and young adults who are looking to play this game can do it in a safe way. The NHL is most likely going to keep fighting legal. Why should we have it in a league for young adults and teenagers?
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