Hockey has changed slowly over the years, but the emphasis on puck possession might be the catalyst that strikes the final blow against fighting in hockey. Players who have the only skill of fisticuffs who can't contribute in other ways just won't have a place on the roster. Other players who take liberties with the stars will have to be dealt with by the league in terms of penalties or suspension, but fighting is almost gone at the NHL level.
I am a huge NHL fan and can see how fighting will be completely gone in ten years. I think the referees get involved too quick and instead of letting the guys go at it, prevent it then worst things happen as retaliation. Fighting has always been part of the game and should continue to be so.
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People need to realize that NHL players don't fight for fun. 90-95% of fights happen due to a dirty hit, someone running their mouth, or something to do with a hit on their goalie. Believe it or not, players like zac Rinaldo would be rewarded, because it would then their actions would go with no punishment other than 2 mins in the box.
This has been an age old topic for the NHL. I see very little changing in the way of the fighting that takes place on the ice. I recall a topic from years past where they were trying to instill a fighting ban. To date I see the fighting has lessened some but not enough to make a huge difference. It is very sad because children are fans and there is really no need for fighting to take place.
Sporting events are watched for two main reasons, competition and entertainment value. The NHL is somewhat lacking in size in comparison to the NFL and NBA. Due to this fact, they need to find ways to increase their market share. One way that they can accomplish this is to try and appeal to more markets. The entertainment value of watching a random brawl occur on a hockey rink will undoubtedly draw major media attention and potential spectators to the sport. For this reason, there is little desire for the organization as a whole to discourage fighting.