Friday, 26 October 2012

Fighting Down in WHL

A story by TSN’s Dave Naylor earlier this week talked about the new fighting rule in the Ontario Hockey League that has reduced fighting in the OHL by 32.1 per cent through 119 games this season.

The new rule in the OHL has players being suspended after their 10th fight of the season, and teams being fined once a player gets past 16 fights for the year.

While there’s no doubt the new rule will have an impact, it’s my bet the rule will also cause an increase in suspensions for other on-ice incidents during the second half of the season.

Let’s face it, part of the game is players policing themselves so if there’s a dirty hit, there’s usually a natural action to engage the offending player in a fight.

How many more of those ‘dirty hits’ might you see if one of more of one team’s tougher players aren’t able to react for fear of being suspended.

The Western Hockey League also introduced a much-less heralded rule this year to try and curb fighting, and that was eliminating ‘staged’ fighting or fights that occur immediately after a faceoff.

That rule has also had an impact already this season.

The WHL is on pace to have 1,382 fighting majors this season (1.744 per game) as compared to 1,580 last season (1.994 per game).

That means fighting is down a little over 12 per cent so far this season.

I’m guessing that, when all is said and done, players and coaches in the Western Hockey League will like their new rule to curb fighting much better than the OHL players and coaches will like the 10-fight limit.

2012-2013 Regular Season
Total Majors: 253
Games: 145
Average: 1.744 per game

2011-2012 Regular Season
Total Majors: 1580
Games: 792 games
Average: 1.994 per game

Fighting stats courtesy www.hockeyfights.com.

No comments: