Rule change helps OHL decrease fighting by about 20 percent

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A new rule that enacts an automatic suspension upon a player’s 10th fight during a season has helped reduced fighting in the OHL by about 20 percent, according to The New York Times’ Jeff Z. Klein.

One might assume that the league’s enforcers are upset about possibly being marginalized, yet last season’s most frequent fighter Ty Bilcke said the league’s “definitely better because of it.”

“It’s definitely in the back of guys’ heads — they know,” Bilcke said. “Guys are more cautious. I think there’s a lot less dirty games, and play isn’t getting out of hand as much.”

Overall, Klein reports that fighting has declined about 20 percent – from .92 per game last season to about .71 so far in 2012-13.

Former NHL player and current Windsor Spitfires coach Bob Boughner argues that it cuts down on what sometimes seem like choreographed fights, forcing players to pick their spots.

“You can only do it so many times, so make sure you’re sticking up for a teammate or trying to change the flow of the game or something like that,” Boughner said. “But to fight for no reason? Especially with this rule, it doesn’t make sense anymore.”

Perhaps the NHL will take note?

(H/T to Kukla’s Korner.)