Hockey has a long history of people fighting with each other. Yet, this may be putting new fans off – here is how the sport will overcome this obstacle.
Why Do So Many Hockey Fights Erupt?
So, you are new to hockey. You sit down for your first game and suddenly, a confrontation erupts. But it’s not just some verbal spat – it is genuine fisticuffs unfolding on the ice. What’s that you might wonder? Well, in case you didn’t know, hockey is the only sport where you can settle scores man to man, with no-one interfering on the condition you are happy to participate in a physical altercation. It’s a bit like playing the slots. You are not quite sure when, but a big win is going to occur, or at least this is what the experts from roulette strategies seem to think. Yet, in hockey, you often get a black eye and not a big win. However, the rules of the game are such.
Fighting in Hockey: You Don’t Want to Chicken Out
Once you realize that players in hockey will fight each other – for whatever reason they might have – things become a little less shocking. So, it’s just one of those things. While you may still disapprove and so do many fans, hockey has this unwritten every-man-for-himself rule.
In fact, you usually don’t want to chicken out, because believe it or not – this is not the right thing to do. You see, hockey players rarely go after you and fight you (if you are another player that is) unless you agree to that.
And in fact, there are only limited scenarios in which players actually want to fight. That usually comes when one player initiates a fight in a previous game. From that moment on, they are often targeted by other enforcers who don’t mind bearing a few bruises if that would give them a chance to knock a star player with a temper problem flat on their backside.
Imagine if Ibrahimović could walk over to Messi and take him out based on nothing more but a verbal agreement between the two to fight. Now, that wouldn’t probably go too well for Barcelona’s star.
But as it turns out, turning down a request to fight – based on your history in the game, might actually be looked down upon fans.
If You Are a Firestarter – Stick to Your Guns
Last year, Lars Eller rushed over to Brad Marchand aggressively pushing and tugging at him, mouthing off the Boston Bruins’ player. Marchand saw an irate Eller, and he quickly pulled himself away, repeating that he didn’t want to fight.
Fans weren’t pleased with these developments at all. You see, Eller was indeed the aggressor, but a few games before, it had been Marchand who actually initiated a fight. That’s why fans even booed his refusal to fight.
On the one hand, he did the right thing – even though his history in the ice ring indicated that he had been one of the least reputable players. Yet, it’s also surprising that you would see so many fans actually calling for a fight.
Hockey is indeed a sport that definitely often becomes too physical for comfort.
A Changing in Public Perception
Yet, as hockey is trying to secure larger fandom, many are reconsidering aggression on the ice. Millennials aren’t necessarily the biggest fans of on-screen violence, and that’s why the NHL is considering to suspend any physical altercations and take care of educating players how to act more in the spirit of sportsmanship on the ice.
The NHL is also investing in competitive video games, known as esports, in a bid to secure more viewers and followers. While it is true that youngsters are less prone to get into hockey, it’s also true that hockey must adapt. Fights may need to stop altogether – cowards or no cowards.