OK, this ought to spark enough discussion here to last a month, and I'm telling you upfront I'm going to play the devil's advocate role. No name-calling unless it is directed at or from Hit Somebody, whom I think enjoys it. LOL. Play nice and I think we can have a lot of fun with this, but I'm guessing this discussion might get quite emotional. Here goes:
Does fighting hurt hockey as a sport in terms of legitimacy?
Why should two guys on the ice be allowed to get away with something that two fans 15 feet away in the stands would be arrested for and charged? How can a sport that officially endorses breaking the law be legitimate? If you took fighting out of the game, would you lose fans or gain fans, and if that's the only thing bringing some fans to the game, just how good is that sport? Does fighting really add to the game? (I actually know people who won't take their kids to games because of fighting.) How does hockey get away from the stereotype of fighting to the broader audience, and it must draw a broader audience?
If you say it's a physical game, well, so is football and the players control themselves. When do you start to teach players it's OK to fight? Is it OK for the kids? Why not? If no one gets hurt fighting, why doesn't everyone do it?
For years the argument is that there would be too much stickwork, but hasn't that already happened even with fighting? How often do players actually retaliate for stickwork by fighting? If fighting is gradually decreasing anyway, how much worse would it be just to eliminate it completely?
How do you explain it to friends who ask about fighting?
BTW, does anybody out there know why fighting was included in the game originally? I'm curious. OK, so have at it.