Hockey has always had a reputation for fighting. When casual fans or non-observers think hockey the first thing that likely comes to mind is a big dude missing a few front teeth chuckin knucks with a guy who doesn’t look all that different. Twenty years ago, that may have been true. Today, fights are an anomaly.
College hockey already does not allow hockey. Surely the game is softer, less physical than major junior hockey let alone the pros right? Wrong. College hockey is evidence that hard-nosed, gritty, physical hockey does not need fighting to exist. Guys at the college level still finish their checks and the games are still hard-hitting.
Major junior hockey in Canada was down to about one fight per game just ten years ago. It’s even lower now. In the NHL, quite a few teams have yet to even have a fighting major, in any game. In short, fighting is all but finished in the sport of hockey.
The game values skill, speed and hockey IQ above anything. As a sport, hockey is in a golden age of skilled players lighting up score boards. Goalies and grumpy old people hate it. Personally, I love it. My favorite things about the game have always been skilled guys flying around and defencemen roaming the blue line ready to get the puck back and make a crisp first pass up the ice.
Fighting has no place left in the game anymore. College hockey has been fine without it. The most successful NHL teams have almost completely abandoned the concept in order to build teams that can score goals and prevent the opposing team from doing so. Giving a roster spot to some goon to go and throw his fists once a game is a waste of a spot. The days of guys like John Scott, Colton Orr and Mike Brown are over.