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Daily Dish: The Clueless and Classless- Junior Hockey News

Published: Tuesday, 2 Feb 2021  
By: Stephen Heisler, JuniorHockey.com


In the past both Hockey Canada and USA Hockey wanted to adopt emergency legislation to remove fighting from the world's best game. I will always feel that is a knee-jerk reaction where sharper, and balanced, enforcement of the existing rules would do more to keep the game in check.

Stricter enforcement of the rules already in place has to the priority. Education is another one. Players have to regain respect for the game if we are going to be able to fend off a drastic change. In the image, we not only see one player about to drill another, despite the other already down on the ice, but the on ice official appears to have seen a ghost and is afraid to even attempt to restrain the aggressor. 

it was not long ago that a player, that even attempted to punch another already down on the ice, would get his own butt kicked in dressing room after the game by his own teammates. If he's one of my players, he would be sniffing diesel fumes on the back of he Greyhound bus all the way to Maine, Nova Scotia, or maybe even Slave Lake. 

25 years ago, the enforcer had a place in the game, but not anymore. The game has changed and everybody on the team needs to be able to contribute. The Hanson Brothers would have a difficult time finding work in today's game.

Hockey Canada and USA Hockey has to put more emphasis on referee education and development instead of caving to a public with little to no interest in the game. Fights generally do not just happen, something inspires them and generally that something is a reaction to an un-called penalty. 

Some feel that a fourth guy on the ice is the answer to better officiating and that is something else I don't agree with. Put that fourth guy in the stands with wireless communication to the guys on the ice. The official with the big picture would have a significant impact in regards to rule enforcement. I know that junior team owners would rather pay for the extra set of eyes in the sky than see fighting be taken from the game. Teams are going to lose a lot more than the 20-30 fans a game that the fourth official is going to cost if the elimination takes place.

I am a serious advocate to leave the game alone with one exception. Line brawls are pure baloney. I understand why one or even two fights can break out at a time, but line brawls gave the game a black eye. One simple rule change will end all of that. If three or more fights occur at any one time, both coaches get a nice five game vacation. Now tell me that rule would not end 90% of the line brawls overnight.

Hockey Canada and USA Hockey need to step back off the podium and look at the big picture here. We have to understand just why fighting happens and just do a better and more consistent job of officiating the game.

Author: Stephen Heisler from JuniorHockey.com
Stephen Heisler has spent a lifetime in the game of hockey. Stephen is also working with individual teams, coaches, and players as a director with Victorious Hockey Company. Stephen, his wife Deysi, and four children reside in Orlando, Florida.


* Disclaimer: This site may contain advice, opinions and statements from various authors and information providers. Views expressed in this article reflect the personal opinion of the author, Stephen Heisler, and not necessarily the views of JuniorHockey.com. JuniorHockey.com does not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement or other info provided in the article, or from any other member of this site.
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