Monday, February 27, 2006

Fighting in hockey

From this fan's perspective, fighting is part of what makes a hockey game such a thrilling event to watch. More importantly, any hockey veteran will tell you that fighting is central to the sport.
Dartmouth standouts Tanner Glass '07 and Grant Lewis '07 explain that fighting is ultimately about accountability on the ice. "It allows the players to police the game themselves," Glass said. "A chippy player skating around throwing sticks and elbows will get the crap beat out of him, so it creates consequences for stupid play."
I've heard plenty of people in the stands complain about hockey games getting "ruined" by fights, but Glass and Lewis help put its necessity in perspective. Hockey is a vigilante sport where the players keep each other accountable for every move on the ice. Unlike football or basketball where that burden lies on the referee, the players are ultimately responsible for maintaining the balance.
Considering our safety-conscious culture, I imagine plenty would disagree with the fact that hockey needs fighting. Personally, I love the idea that hockey exists as a renegade sport, resisting the forces that would like to see players clean up their image and place more importance on a good haircut than missing teeth.

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