Time to end fighting in hockey?
Oct 2, 2013 / 5:00 pm
The opening game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens – two of the NHL's longest-standing rivals and most storied franchises – is being overshadowed by the image of Habs enforcer George Parros lying motionless, face-down on the ice.
During a third period scuffle with Toronto Maple Leafs' Colton Orr, Montreal Canadiens' enforcer George Parros lost his balance and fell face first into the ice. Suffering a concussion, he remained there, motionless.
Waved on by Orr, the Canadiens’ team medics carried Parros off the ice on a stretcher, his chin visibly bleeding from the impact. He was taken to hospital where he was reportedly alert and conscious.
Although the roles were reversed, the incident brought back memories of another fight between the two in 2011. That’s when Parros – playing with Anaheim at the time -- landed a punch that left Orr sidelined with a concussion for the rest of the season.
On Tuesday night, Parros tweeted, “Thanks for all the well wishes everyone,” with a hashtag “classyfollowers.”
Over the summer the Canadian Medical Association blasted NHL team owners for being too tolerant of violence in hockey, adding that the teams have a financial interest in promoting fighting.
Aiming to improve player safety this season, the NHL has introduced a new rule that gives an extra two-minute penalty for players who take their helmets off during a fight.
The incident Tuesday night is fuel for a renewed debate, however, on whether fighting should be abolished from the game.
Some high-profile names in professional hockey came out in favour of eliminating fighting Wednesday.
‘Yes, I believe a player should get a game misconduct for fighting,” Tampa Bay Lightning general manager and Hall-of-Famer Steve Yzerman told TSN’s The Dreger Report.
“We penalize and suspend players for making contact with the head while checking, in an effort to reduce head injuries, yet we still allow fighting.
“We’re stuck in the middle and need to decide what kind of sport do we want to be. Either anything goes and we accept the consequences, or take the next step and eliminate fighting.”
Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford and Pittsburgh’s Ray Shero also weighed in, saying fighting must be removed from hockey.
But Kerry Goulet, co-founder of stopconcussions.com, told CTV News Channel Wednesday that removing fighting will require a cultural shift in hockey culture, from players to spectators.
“It’s unfortunate that this violence is accepted by society,” Goulet said. “We have to step up and say, ‘Listen, we do not want our players, our kids at risk anymore, so let’s take this part of the game out and allow hockey to be what it is – a phenomenal sport that not many people can do.’
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