Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

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Fighting is a Part of Professional Hockey Hockey is a very intense and rough game. Tempers flare and players get frustrated. They play their hearts out because so much is on the line. They have to play at an extremely high level to earn their salary and impress their coaches. These athletes play for pride, but most of all, they play to win. In order to win, players are forced to play harder than the opposing team. However, when the other team responds by playing harder and more energetically, players will take and do whatever helps them to get motivated. Considering all of the issues at stake and the physical play involved in the sport, it is not surprising that tempers can reach their boiling points very easily. So what is the best way of dealing with this? In my opinion, fighting is the answer and we have to keep it in the game.

Fighting is an essential part of professional hockey.

With fighting being allowed, players can square off fairly instead of taking dangerous cheap shots at one another. I play hockey at a minor level and it is still extremely intense and the players get very angry. So imagine how it must be at a professional level, with so much on the line. Without fighting to resort to, more players would get injured because of other players becoming so mad and frustrated that they do something stupid to get even. With fighting, once two players have really got on each other's nerves and they want to settle their differences, then they can try to pummel each other for half a minute. The mild cuts that sometimes result from a good old-fashioned hockey fight are welcomed as opposed to a very serious injury that could occur when a player is furious and wishes to hurt someone. Those type of injuries are rare in the NHL because when the situation arises that a player gets this angry, he can simply duke it out and then spend five minutes in the penalty box to cool down.

Nick Kypreos is a former NHL player. He basically made a living by protecting his fellow teammates and duking it out with other designated goons. Something happened to him a few years ago though that forced him to retire. What happened to Kypreos is very rare and it was a freak accident. He was involved in a good fight with an opposing player and they were both landing some great punches. Suddenly Kypreos was hit by a hard, clean punch on his chin and he was knocked unconscious, falling to the ice and smashing his face. Kypreos suffered a sever concussion and some stitches were required. In spite of this incident, CTV Sportsnet hockey analyst Nick Kypreos still supports fighting, even though his career was ended in one. It is a part of the game and what happened to him was extremely rare. He is not angry at anyone because he knows a lot about hockey and isn't ignorant like many people who say fighting should be taken out of professional hockey. He knows all the reasons that fighting should stay in the game and that's why he still supports it, even after what happened to him.

Fans pay their hard-earned money to attend an NHL game and to be entertained. It is quite expensive to attend professional hockey games, especially NHL games where you could pay up to 200$ for a single seat. Fans love to watch fighting and they deserve to get to see what they want for the amount of money that they pay. That is the whole points of sports, to entertain the fans. Hockey fights are not savage or in anyway like a street fight. Two players with full equipment on, hold on to each other's jersey to prevent them form being able to throw punches. Most fights are basically tugging and shoving and few punches are thrown. When there are punches thrown and one player is getting the worst of it the refs break up the fight before anyone gets hurt badly. The majority of fights end like this or the refs and linesmen wait until the two players tire each other out. The fans just love fights though because they're usually fast-paced and very exciting; imagine going to a hockey game without a fight! That is like going to a Burger King that doesn't sell burgers! So if no harm comes to anyone and the fans love it, then why take away fighting? Take a look at the Boston Bruins P.J. Stock (born and raised in D.D.O.). He's a small guy. five-foot ten at most, yet he is one of the best "enforcers" in the sport, and the Boston fans love him. After being with the team for only a short period, he already has his own t-shirts, and will always be remembered by Boston fans for the emotion he shows and the wave he does after he finishes pummeling a heavyweight.

Hockey is a game all about intensity, aggressiveness and gritty work but one of the most important aspects of the game is skill. Not all players in the National Hockey League and minor leagues (such as the Canadian Hockey League) have tremendous skill (compared to other profession players). Some are designated fighters, hitters, pests, or crash and bangers. There are also very skilled players that have more talent than the rest. These players usually don't fight or do anything like that. So when an opposing player goes after one of your skilled players what can you do? Well, you can challenge them to a fight and teach them a lesson: that they will not get away will bothering your superstars without a beating. Without fighting, goons could just go after the more talented players, trying to hit them hard and take them out and they wouldn't have to be worried about having to back their actions up. Without fighting to result to, the teammate who wants to stand up for his guy would probably do something illegal dangerous out of anger, perhaps seriously injuring the opposing player.

Also when a team is looking flat and is not doing too well in a game they sometimes use a fight to get pumped up. A designated fighter will go out and look to win a fight to get the crowd fired up, show some emotion and intensity and give his team some momentum. Fighting really helps teams, sometimes they score right after their teammate shows heart and bravery and takes someone on. Once again, P.J. Stock is a perfect example. Take a look back at a recent game between the Boston Bruins and the St. Louis Blues. It was a home game for Boston, who was down 3-2 with 10 minutes to go. Reed Low made the mistake of picking a fight with P.J. Stock. The fight lasted quite a while, and although there was no clear winner, the fight transformed a rather dull, quiet crowd into the most thunderous, roaring crowds one has ever seen. On the next shift, Benoit Hogue, who is not known as much of a goal scorer, or skater for that matter, skated deep into the St. Louis zone, skated circles around their defensemen, and shot the puck into the net like he was Wayne Gretzky! Fighting is so important to the game of hockey for so many reasons. It is and should continue to be in the game forever. It is exhilarating for the fans and pumps up the teams to make for a better, more entertaining game. Fighting, ironically, protects players and keeps them in line. Hockey is a highly intense game and players get angry, fighting is the best way to cool them off. We need fighting in the game, it is truly essential and what's not to like about it? It brings more emotion to the game and is exciting and it prevents players form getting seriously injured. What more could you want?