Fighting in hockey is appropriate

Except for soccer moms:

For some parents of the thousands of children at the Portland Pirates’ annual School Day game Tuesday, a fight that ended with the ejection of four players was too much.

“We were horrified by what we witnessed,” said Catherine Anderson, who attended the game with her 6-year-old son’s kindergarten class from Reiche School in Portland. “(My son) said, ‘Mommy, what’s happening?’ and I said, ‘These men are acting out of control and they’re making bad choices.’ And he said, ‘Why isn’t it stopped?’ “

It isn’t stopped, Child Who I Presume Must Be Named Quaint Little Timmy, because fighting is one of the ways in which hockey players police themselves. The refs can’t see everything; if a player is playing like an ass, he’s going to get punched. In 99% of the cases, a few scratches will be the biggest result. But without fighting, people like Matt Cooke would get away with stuff like this more often:

And that isn’t the first time.

Those sort of plays are extreme – Cooke should be suspended for no less than a year – but dirty hits are kept in check with clean fighting. That doesn’t mean fighting goes unpunished – it always results in a penalty. And that’s fair. These teachers just need some perspective: a self-policing action which usually results in a scratch or two at best is a good tool for keeping the actual gameplay as clean as it is.

One Response

  1. I’m a Texan. I’ve never been to a hockey game. (Full disclosure Mom was a Canadian and my cousins all play(ed)). I know there are fights in hockey and that they are somewhat accepted.

    I’ve seen fights at basketball and baseball games, while those aren’t as accepted as in hockey.

    My mom’s family are sports fanatics, mostly baseball, hockey, and rugby. To a person the adults will tell you that sports figures are NOT supposed to role models by defaults. There are players that they admire and those they don’t – and the adults explain this to the kids.

    The parents who went to a hockey game expecting a game of patty cakes are idiots.

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