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I'm Whitney St. John, in today's Commentary, I'm taking an unpopular stance on one of the hottest debates in pro sports: fighting in hockey. For most diehard hockey fans, it's just another part of the game. But with all the recent revelations about concussions and head trauma, the media's push to get fighting out of the game is stronger than ever. I'm here to tell you why I think fighting is a necessary evil.
In a recent players' poll, ninety-eight percent of NHLers voted to keep fighting in hockey. Ninety-eight percent! That's an overwhelming number and one that can't be ignored. If the world's elite players think fighting is good for the game, then shouldn't we at least take a second to think about why? I think we can all agree that the players probably know best.
Hockey is unlike any other physical team sport. It's faster. There's no out of bounds. And the players travel at crazy speeds carrying sticks that are essentially graphite weapons. Danger's an inherent part of the game. A player gets pushed from behind going into the corner, loses an edge, and his career's over. We've all heard about the code of honour in hockey. Don't roll your eyes at me! Most players know when to let up and play it safe. But then there are the rats. Y'know, the guys who don't mind bending the rules and taking cheapshots at star players.
Having an enforcer on the team - a player who specializes in fighting - let's everyone know they'll be held accountable for their actions on the ice. It sounds odd, but most players would tell you that at the elite level, fighting makes the game less dangerous. But anchor, you say. Football's a contact sport and it doesn't need fighting. To which I say of course not! The action in football lasts only a few seconds, and then everyone goes back to the huddle and gets a breather. The intensity of hockey is unlike any other sport, and when tempers flare, sometimes a fight is the best way to get everyone cooled off.
I'm not saying it's a perfect system. Far from it. But I defy you to come up with a better one. In fact, I invite it!
Send me your thoughts on hockey fighting and its place in the game by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org. And feel free to share your thoughts on our fan page by going to facebook.com/nakednews. For Naked News, I’m Whitney St. John.
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