For decades, the National Hockey League has argued that fighting is part of the game.  This despite the fact that hockey gets along just fine without fighting at the collegiate and Olympic levels (and even in the Stanley Cup playoffs).  In no other team sport is fighting considered “part of the game.”  It’s a big reason that the NHL has remained a niche sport, solidly dead last among the four major American professional sports leagues (NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL).

Today, with an epidemic of concussions plaguing the league, and with new research coming out showing that concussions and repetitive blows to the head can lead to long-term brain degeneration, the fact that the NHL still condones bare-knuckled fighting is increasingly troubling.

Former NHL player Jim Thomson, a well-known “fighter” who’s primary job was to protect his team’s stars, recently came out calling for a complete ban on fighting in the NHL.

“Get it out,” said Thomson.  “I mean, come on, why do we need it?  I am tired of sitting with my kids and two guys drop the gloves, and I’m waiting for a guy to be shaking on the ice in a seizure or knocked out.  It’s an ugly scene.”

Thomson is part of a coalition of current and former athletes who are promoting a website ( designed to help educate athletes on the cause, effects and consequences of brain concussions.

For more on Thomson and his endeavors, read ‘As a fighter in hockey, you live in fear.’


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