The Ontario Hockey League has implemented a new fighting rule and, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, it could have ramifications on how the NHL handles on-ice pugilism.
Starting this season, the OHL will suspend players that accumulate more than 10 fights in a season:
1. If a player is assessed a fighting major for the 11th to 15th time during the regular season, such player is assessed an automatic two game suspension for each additional fighting major in addition to any other penalties assessed.
2. If a player is assessed a fighting major for the 16th time or more during the regular season, such player is assessed an automatic two game suspension and the hockey club is fined $1,000.00 for each additional fighting major in addition to any other penalties assessed.
3. If a player is deemed to be the instigator in any of the fights above the 10 game threshold, such player would be assessed an automatic four game suspension in addition to any other penalties assessed.
NHL senior vice-president of hockey operations Colin Campbell said OHL commissioner David Brach consulted him prior to making the rule change.
Campbell also said his department had conversations about a similar “fighting limit” idea.
“We’ve discussed the aspect of fighting over the years,” Campbell told ESPN. “We had a couple of initial discussions about this last spring. They were thinking about implementing some sort of quota. I mentioned to we had debated that internally in Hockey Operations at the NHL level.
“We’ll be watching closely. It will be interesting to see how it works.”
LeBrun notes the 10-fight threshold might have to be adjusted at the NHL level, given the NHL schedule is 82 games compared to the OHL’s 68-game slate.