Fight Club

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QMJHL’s choice to ban fighting has mixed reviews and drastic effects on the landscape of the hockey world.

On Wednesday, it was announced that The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) is expected to ban fighting for next season.  According to a leaked report from Le Journal de Quebec, the QMJHL is planning to introduce a new rule during the league-wide meeting in June that will put a stop to all legal fighting within its league.

This movement to ban fighting in the QMJHL has been spearheaded by former NHL fighter and current Liberal Party member of Quebec’s National Assembly, Enrico Ciccone, who ironically amassed 1,324 penalty minutes in 324 career games in the NHL and was arrested for assaulting a San Diego Gulls photographer in 1992. Ciccone also assaulted a fan during the 1996 Stanley Cup Playoffs in Colorado. In 2020, Ciccone introduced a private member’s bill that would ban fighting in amateur sports in Quebec, except for those involved in combat sports. That same year, the QMJHL made an effort to have stricter punishments for fighting by adding a 10-minute misconduct penalty on top of the 5-minute major.

“The QMJHL is planning to have a rule in place that will ban fighting, making it black and white that it is no longer a part of our game,” a spokesperson said on behalf of the league. “The punishments have not been decided as of yet. We will be looking to have a rule in place in June when the next general annual assembly of the member of the board of governors takes place.”

Many members of the hockey community have strong opinions of whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. Mathieu Olivier, current Columbus Blue Jacket Forward, who has 15 fights to his name since entering the NHL in 2020-2021, tweeted a valid point.

“Not every player is gonna make it pro as a top 6 F / top 4 D and this hurts players that want to do whatever it takes to make it. Sad to see the Quebec Government force the league into this when the players have no say in the matter.”

Olivier played 6 seasons in the QMJHL, where he perfected his craft of being a scrapper; quick to back up his teammates and never one to shy away from a fight. If not for these skills, he may not have even made an NHL roster. It’s entertaining to watch his passion for his teammates unfold as he goes from hockey player to Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robot.

We can debate all day whether fighting belongs in hockey or not, but at the end of the day, there is fighting in hockey and one of the major NHL pipelines banning it can be detrimental to the development of prospective players. This could be potentially dangerous when these new players come face to face with the Milan Lucics, Ryan Reeves, and Tom Wilsons of the league.

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