David Branch and Bob Nicholson are two powerful hockey men. The former is the president of the CHL, the umbrella organization that oversees the three major-junior leagues (WHL, OHL, QMJHL). The latter is the president of Hockey Canada.
Both men want to end fighting in their respective organizations, as reported by the New York Times.
Branch: “One of the causes of concussions is fighting. And I believe that there is more and more recognition that our game does not need fighting to survive, to be part of the entertainment package, you might say, because of the concerns of injuries and other concerns that could very well be a byproduct of fighting.”
Nicholson: “The official stance from Hockey Canada is that we want to get rid of fighting as quickly as we can. Our ultimate goal is to remove fighting.”
Branch’s comments are particularly significant, since he’s the one who has to answer to CHL franchise owners that stand to lose money if banning fighting hurts attendance. If the owners want fighting outlawed, it’ll be outlawed.
If fighting is indeed outlawed at the junior level, it’ll no doubt have an effect on the NHL, even if dropping the gloves remains a major penalty and nothing more in professional leagues. Most fighters hone their skills in junior. What’s more, many fighters only have a roster spot in junior because they can scrap. Fact is, intimidation works at all levels of hockey, but it works especially well when it’s mostly teenagers out there.
True, there are tough guys that came out of the NCAA, where there’s no fighting. George Parros, for example, went to Princeton; however, he was scrapping as a teenager in the NAHL.
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