Why Is Fighting Allowed In Hockey? Well, hockey is perhaps the only sport where it is allowed to fight. However, this is technically against the game rules. As a consequence of the fight in this professional sport, the two players, who fight on the ice, get to net those players in the penalty box for only five minutes. There is no lengthy suspension or other consequences.
Nonetheless, when players fight and try to cause physical damage to opponents, things can become unpleasant in less time. Hockey fighting is extremely nuanced as a result of multiple unwritten rules that control the actions of the players. Also, these rules keep on evolving. When we think about hockey vs. basketball, quarters in hockey, hockey is more of a game that continues in a flow.
Why Is Fighting Permissible In Hockey
Though there is truly no particular reason why fighting is allowable in hockey, it is usually thought to avoid an ordinary trial and other unnecessary actions during gameplay.
Fighting in hockey is no less than an established North American tradition. It has a long history involving several levels of both amateurs as well as professional players and includes a few noteworthy fights.
The role of some players is to fight in the game and intimidate the team. They are even governed by unwritten rules of the system, which players, officials, coaches, and media professionals refer to as “the code”. It is to note that not every fight is spontaneous. Some players premeditated them to serve their purpose.
The hockey officials may tolerate those fights during the game, but they also impose different penalties on the players who are found engaged in the fights. Specifically, fighting is a unique way that enables the players to police their actions. Accordingly, they do not have to deal with ejections, suspensions, or penalties.
Moreover, it is an opportunity for the players to release their frustration in a controlled manner. Thus, fighting in hockey is a unique way to oppose building frustration in the players, releasing them into a more severe play.
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Fighting in a professional game like hockey can have a major consequence on the players and their teams. The rules of the system and the consequences of engaging in hockey fights are indeed technical. Hence, the participants can be levied on suspension, fines or any other serious penalties.
In reality, both the officials and fans of the game encourage fighting in hockey so that the players can mend disputes. Despite having all the rules of penalties, fighting in hockey is allowed.
Generally, a hockey fight arises when players get in a conflict during the match. Then, they are permitted to remove their gloves and fight with the opponents. If this occurs, the referee blows a whistle to stop the gameplay.
The fight is permitted to continue on two conditions. Unless a player falls on the ice and the referees evaluate, the time is to stop the fight. Sometimes, the fight can escalate to such an extent that the entire hockey team gets into the brawl.
What is the procedure of Fighting in Hockey?
Now that you know “why is fighting allowed in hockey?” it’s time to know the procedure of hockey fighting. So, let’s dive into the depth of the topic.
Whenever a fight occurs in the hockey game, every other player must leave the ice and go back to the player benches. The referees come in position on their crease to play their responsibility. It is a rule that the players cannot remove their helmets before the fight begins. If a player removes the helmet, it will be a sign of unsportsmanlike conduct. Hence, the convicted player can get a minor penalty along with the major penalty for fighting.
However, if a player’s helmet falls off during the fight, there will be no penalty given. All hockey fights stop when any player hits the ice ground.
How Does Fight Begin?
Fights usually start when players get into an altercation and confront the matter. Once the intentions of the players are clear that they want to fight, the referee stops the gameplay by blowing the whistle if the game continues. After that, they will allow the players to fight until one falls on the ground. Following this, both of them will be sent to the penalty box to spend time.
Roles of the Players
The aggressor in the hockey fight is the player who ultimately wins it. Here, the aggressor can still continue fighting even after the opponent fighting player gives up. Between the aggressor and the other fighter, the aggressor always gets a major penalty in addition to the game misconduct penalty.
Like any other event, the instigator in the hockey fight is the one who provokes the fight. Below are some ways how a player plays the role of an instigator during a hockey fight.
- The instigator uses verbal abuse to provoke another player.
- He knocks the first punch.
As a consequence, the instigator in a hockey fight receives all three penalties, including a minor penalty, a major penalty, along the misconduct penalty.
If a player is contemplated only as of the instigator and has no role as an aggressor, they will also get for the stat sheet a minor penalty, a major penalty, and a misconduct penalty. Still, they will not have to spend more than five minutes inside the penalty box.
Penalties for Hockey Fights
When there is a fight in hockey, the referee selects the aggressor and the instigator among the fighting players. This is a technique used to assign fines, penalties, and suspension.
Besides, the referee can even categorize players as both aggressors and instigators. In that case, players will receive many penalties, including an instigating minor penalty, misconduct penalty for instigating, which will be of 10 minutes. In addition, they will receive a major penalty for fighting and a game misconduct penalty.
Moreover, all these will be in the record that can impact the fines, penalties, and suspension.
Penalties Based on Situation
|Situation||Type of Penalty|
|Player participating in the fight||Major Penalty|
|A player removing jersey or helmet during the fight||Minor Penalty Unsportsmanlike conduct|
|Player taped to the hand and pulled blood||Match Penalty|
|Fighting off the surface of the game||Game Misconduct Penalty|
|Fighting off the game surface with a player who is off the surface||Misconduct Penalty|
|Players continue to fight after it is over||Misconduct/Major Penalty|
|Second-time instigator||Major/Misconduct Penalty|
|The instigator for more than three times in the same season||Major/Misconduct Penalty|
|The instigator in the last five minutes of the game||Major/Misconduct Penalty|
The penalty box is simply where the fighting players are sent to penalize their actions. It is only after the penalty duration is over that the players can return to play the game.
Generally, players have to spend between two to ten minutes in the penalty box. In the meantime, the penalized player’s team has to play down a player unless the penalty duration is over. This is a great advantage for the opposing team who get a chance to the power play.
So, here is the answer to the most common question- “why is fighting allowed in hockey?” Hockey is a sport of contact where it will be absurd to react after each hitting. However, if a player crosses the line, he will have to deal with the consequences.
Players have to pay heed to the referee when they blow a whistle to warn the end of the fight. Also, they should oblige specific rules set for fighting. Nonetheless, everyone, including players, coaches, officials, and fans, opposes its elimination.
James Anderson loves sports and writes about them. He is a sports ethicist who has studied ethical issues in sport for over 20 years. James is also an avid runner, cyclist, and skier.
Words from the Author:
‘’I have been writing about sports for over 20 years, and I am a sports ethicist by trade. My work has always focused on the ethical dimensions of sport, and I have studied it in depth both academically and practically. In addition to being an avid runner, cyclist, and skier myself, I love all types of athletics from baseball to gymnastics.’’