BCHL Wants One Fight Limit

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BCHL wants one-fight limit

As Hockey Canada considers a ban on fighting in junior hockey, BCHL commissioner John Grisdale says he will ask Hockey Canada to extend a pilot program that allows players to fight once in a game without being ejected.

For the last two years, the BCHL and four other Junior A hockey leagues have participated in a "supplement" program that harshly penalizes head shots, dangerous hits and "unnecessary fighting." The program, which ends this summer, allows the leagues to avoid implementing an otherwise-universal Hockey Canada rule that calls for an automatic game misconduct for fighting.

Grisdale, who was in Chilliwack recently for the announcement of the league’s showcase event, told the Times that the two-year program-which ends this summer-has worked and that banning fighting wouldn’t necessarily make the game safer.

Asked why players should not be ejected after a single game, Grisdale said: "Players will retaliate in other ways: maybe using their stick and other matters if they feel they’ve been aggrieved. Our feeling is having that threat of having to drop your gloves and fight is not necessarily the worst thing in the world."

Grisdale said few players at the Junior A level fight and that hits from behind are more concerning.

Between 2009-10, the year before the supplement program took effect, and the 2010-11 season, fighting dropped 50 per cent. Grisdale said he was proud of that drop.

Spontaneous fighting, the emotion that’s shown in the game, emotion thats required to play at a high level. Staged fighting is what needs to be eliminated as it serves no purpose. The "tough guy", "enforcer", or "goon" that once was a staple on nearly every junior team is a position being eliminated from every level of hockey. Players who can not contribute to wins in the form of point production or defensive play should not be taking the place of another skilled player who can.

The argument is only going to continue to be debated. Parents with "tough" players going to camps are complaining already. To think that if they had spent more time on skill development though, that player could still possibly make a team.

Nearly every player on the ice these days is willing to fight for his team from an emotional standpoint. Sydney Crosby will fight for his. That is how the game has changed, most players are now tough enough to stick up for themselves when needed. Thats how it should be accoring to the majority of fans. No one likes to watch the "tough guy" be seen as a pylon when he gets caught out on the ice in a bad shift and gets scored on costing his team a game.

"The official stance from Hockey Canada is that we want to get rid of fighting as quickly as we can," Hockey Canada CEO Bob Nicholson told the New York Times. "Our ultimate goal is to remove fighting."

The data show that automatic ejections may not fully remove fighting from the rink, but they help.

The Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL), which ejects players after a single fight, saw approximately one fight every four games last year.

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