7 Reasons Fighting Needs to Stay in the NHL

Kevin Goff@@BrgBrigadeKevinContributor IDecember 19, 2011

7 Reasons Fighting Needs to Stay in the NHL

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    All the talk about concussions and head trauma in the NHL has once again rekindled the debate about the place of fighting in today's NHL.

    Concussion awareness makes a lot of people say that there is no place for fighting in the NHL anymore because it is just too dangerous to the health of the players involved.

    Then there are the tragic events that happened over this summer with Wade Belak, Rick Rypien and Derek Boogaard.

    The mental health of players who do fight is another thing that is making people re-evaluate whether or not fighting should be allowed.

    Despite the things coming out against fighting right now, here are some reasons that fighting should remain a part of the NHL.

Fan Appeal

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    Call it grotesque, call it infantile, call it whatever you want. The simple fact of the matter is that fans like fights in the hockey games.

    Not only do most hockey fans like the element that fighting adds to the game, but fighting has a large appeal to casual fans.

    How many times have you heard somebody say they came to a game simply so they could see a fight?

    Disturbing and Romanesque as it may be, fighting helps put fans in the stands and money in the team's bank account.

    As long as that remains true, fighting will stay in the league.

It Impacts the Game

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    Announcers are quick to point out how several guys will drop the gloves in order to fire up their team.

    One guy who is famous for fighting to light a fire under his team is Jarome Iginla. If he feels like his team needs a spark, he'll find somebody to go with.

    Fighting has a real impact on the game and is a lot more than just two guys tossing bombs at each other because they didn't like the other guy's face.

    Momentum shifts can be attributed to fights, teams will credit their fighter with wins because he went out and set the tone for a game.

    Hockey would be losing a serious game-changing factor if fighting were eliminated.

Policing

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    Fighting is a powerful way for players to police each other.

    This ability has been limited over the years with the introduction of the fight instigator penalty, but the concept still holds true.

    Players know that if they level some kind of hit on a player, especially a star player, they had better be ready to step up and accept a challenge for what they did.

    This especially holds true for dirty plays. If somebody takes a shot at one of your guys and it appears to be even the slightest bit dirty, count on that team swarming the offending player to exact some type of revenge.

    It sounds like something you see on the playground, but in a game where serious injuries can and do occur from dirty plays, the players who make those kind of plays need to have something to think about.

    Players can handle suspensions and fines, but if they know that another player is going to knock their teeth out for something, then they might think twice.

It Builds Teams

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    Players defend their teammates, plain and simple.

    The fighting allows for this to happen and allows teams to come together if one guys sticks up for somebody on their team.

    Sticking up for each other like that can build a team's confidence in itself.

    When that confidence grows, a team can really pull together and begin to play as one. Teams that play as a single unit are dangerous at all times.

Fighting Is Better Than Maiming

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    Which would we rather have: A couple of guys who have a beef with each other dropping the gloves to settle their differences or a couple of guys trying to get the best cheap shot on their opponent?

    Fighting is a much less dangerous and bloody way for players to settle things.

    Do we still see players take cheap shots like the one in the video above? Obviously we do, but this type of scene would become far more frequent if fighting were taken out of the game.

    Hockey is a fast-paced game that is physical by nature. That type of play combined with some emotional guys who have short fuses lead to the type of plays above.

    Fighting curbs those dangerous plays from happening.

Tradition

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    As long back as there has been hockey, there have been players fighting.

    Fighting is part of the very fabric that built the game we all know and love today. Taking fighting out of the game of hockey would be like not offering toppings for your hot dogs.

    Sure, not everybody likes relish, but without the option the hot dog is pretty boring.

It Builds Rivalries

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    Why is it people always love games between teams with heated rivalries?

    It isn't because the skating was so much better in those games, it is because the intensity level is so high in those games that everybody knows several fights could break out at any given moment.

    Fans and players love the atmosphere that comes with those games because of how much energy there is.

    Those types of rivalries won't take on the same kind of feeling that they have now if fighting were taken out of the game.

To Conclude

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    Fighting is something that stirs emotions in the hearts of several hockey fans throughout the world.

    There is so much to like about what fighting does for the game and how much it has been a part of the game for so long.

    There are also a lot of negatives to accompany the positives.

    As with most things in life, there is no way to make everybody happy with the solution here.

    In the end, fighting needs to remain a part of hockey.

    Kevin Goff is a Featured Columnist for the Colorado Avalanche and NHL on Bleacher Report. For more NHL news and discussion, 

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