By Ken Reed

A few National Hockey League executives, including an NHL Hall of Fame player, have come out against fighting in the league.

“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,” said Steve Yzerman, an NHL Hall-of-Famer and current general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning. “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.”

Jim Rutherford, the general manager of the Carolina Hurricanes was more succinct. “We’ve got to get rid of fighting, it has to go,” said Rutherford.

Pittsburgh’s Ray Shero added, “It won’t happen overnight, but we need to be leaders, not followers in this area.”

It’s not a majority of NHL leaders, but it’s a nice start to an inevitable end.

While frustratingly slow, progress is being made against the NHL’s Neanderthal culture.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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