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WATCH: NHL fights becoming ridiculous

The New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils didn’t let hockey get in the way of their organised fight this week.

Image: YouTube screen grab

ANYONE WHO HEARD the moving interview with NHL legend Jim Thompson on Newstalk recently will know that the problem of violence in ice hockey is much more than merely a bad influence on kids.

This week, the bare-knuckle brawl reached new depths as three players from each side engaged before a puck was even passed.

Sports Illustrated have likened it to Slap Shot, but even the Paul Newman film couldn’t imagine this would happen at the highest level.

It’s not even the first time that the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils have done this, five weeks ago it was the very same and there was no serious sanction.

So why bother to stop?

Tradition

The traditional hockey fight occurs because tension (as in any sport) can rise to a crescendo. In other codes, the trick is to suppress the urge to fight. In hockey it is actively encouraged and the sight of gloves and helmets been thrown down gets the crowd whipped up into a frenzy.

Thompson spoke of the long-term damage caused by constant bare-knuckle fighting, which as an ‘enforcer’ was essentially his job.

The Canadian turned to drug abuse, suffered depression and brain damage. Yet, rather than take those concerns on board, the NHL is moving more and more towards this pantomime violence where teams can make a prior agreement to just skip the hockey and get straight to the bloodsport.

But hey, the Rangers play again tonight and here we are, watching ice hockey.


YouTube credit: CBSEyeOnHockey

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Sean Farrell

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