Hockey Violence: Fighting Should not Be Allowed in Hockey (Essay)

free essaySenseless violence and hockey fights during matches have become a reason for numerous injuries. Thus, many experts start to express their opinions about moral acceptance of the corresponding sports rules and regulations in hockey. Many hockey players receive severe traumas during matches. In addition, there are also cases when the fans are injured because of the players’ actions. It results in the fact that questions concerning ethics in sports arise inevitably. For example, experts ask whether fighting in hockey is an integral part of the moral character of a hockey player.

To date, the problem of fights in hockey is one of the most ambiguous and difficult. However, statistics show that annually, the quantity of fights gradually decreases. The judges and the league practically declared war on fights. Nonetheless, it is considered one of the causes why the players have practically stopped jostling during matches. Several decades ago, there was a great number of fights in hockey. Their peak in the NHL was in the mid- of 80s – 90s of the previous century (Cormack & Cosgrave, 2013). During this period, fights happened in practically each match. The record season was the championship of 1987-88 when in 841 matches, there were more than 1100 fights (Cormack & Cosgrave, 2013). This era is usually regarded the bloom of the NHL with the greatest number of goals and fights.

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It is evident that violence in hockey undermines the basic principles of sport. The main reason for the NHL to start trying to diminish the number of fights to a minimum was the anxiety for the health of the hockey players. There was a number of deaths of former hockey players who suffered from serious brain damage (Jamieson & Orr, 2014). The researches have shown that it is considered a professional disease of sportsmen involved in hockey, football, boxing, and other contact sports (Jamieson & Orr, 2014). Moreover, the danger is connected not so much with one-time concussions of the brain but rather with constant small blows to the head. Thus, it is the first reason for reducing the number of fights during the matches. The second cause is a natural consequence of the development of hockey. In the middle of 2000s, the salaries drastically increased in the NHL and in teams, and therefore, the places for fighters gradually ceased to appear (Cormack & Cosgrave, 2013). For several years, this trend has led to the fact that for the victory, it is not enough to be able to hit the opponents and stand on skates. Nowadays, the players should be moderately technical and skate well. Frequently, they are the major factors in the matches. Currently, modern hockey is moving in this direction; however, still the fights have not disappeared completely.
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There are several confirmations of the fact that fighting should not be allowed in hockey. The first one consists in the set of rules and principles adopted by the NHL. Recently, the leadership of the NHL along with representatives of the U.S. Army stated moral principles and norms peculiar to professional hockey players (Cormack & Cosgrave, 2013). These norms were borrowed from the moral code of the U.S. Army (Cormack & Cosgrave, 2013). The most significant quality is respect; therefore, players should respect other team players, coaches, and fans. Loyalty is the next important attribute that assumes that hockey players have to show fidelity and devotion to the team. They should also lead selfless service and put the interests of the team above all. Another necessary quality is duty. Players should do everything that is required in relation with their duty. Good hockey players adhere to principles and do what is right according to morality and law. They should be noble and care for the safety of every player in the team. Courage is one more quality that was formulated by the NHL (Cormack & Cosgrave, 2013). Each hockey player should feel free to meet hardship, danger, and fear. Players also need to develop discipline skills, improve athletic skills, and learn practical training in teamwork. Another important rule that players should remember consists in the fact that there should be game for the sake of pleasure and game rather than for the sake of victory. Therefore, all these moral principles prove the fact that fighting should not be allowed in hockey.

If a struggle is applied from the wicked intention, it becomes evident that fights represent violation of all moral norms and principles. However, in case of a fair fight, which is deprived of all evil intents, when the player is to take a decision about the application of force, he should pay attention to the two opposite parts of virtue (Cormack & Cosgrave, 2013). On the one hand, if a person is directed by adherence to principles, justice, and self-discipline, such a player will not enter into a fight. On the other hand, if a person wants to face a rival, a hockey player is regarded as selfless, faithful, and brave.

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A hockey player who uses fighting during matches comes into the conflict with various regulations of the moral code. Despite this fact, some of the positions are still neglected. For example, Don Cherry claims that the player shows his bravery when protecting the teammate (Proteau, 2011). According to him, it also represents a manifestation of selfless devotion and service to the team. In addition, many fans believe that a good fight is part of every match. In the book Fighting the Good Fight, Proteau notes, “the sport’s traditionalists will argue over and over that hockey players are the toughest pro athletes anywhere” (2011, p. 7). Nonetheless, these arguments disregard two major moments. First, not all scuffles perform as a manifestation of devotion and bravery for the sake of defending the team. Moreover, the motive for some of the players comprises of the desire to instill fear in the players of the opposing team, provoke a fight, or revenge. The decision to get involved in the fight, which is often perceived as dictated by loyalty or courage to the team, may be motivated by depraved purposes and thus cannot be considered morally good. Therefore, such deeds in general are considered unacceptable and immoral. Another moment consists in the fact that any need for bold actions in case of a power struggle will be lost unless such a struggle occupies the first place. Therefore, it should be banned.

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The number of fights during hockey matches is gradually decreasing. Nevertheless, there are still cases when the game ends with the fight. It is an element of the struggle, which can clamp a brave opponent. Many players and coaches believe that fights are part of the hockey matches which will not be spectacular enough without them. Nonetheless, fights should not be allowed in hockey. It is mainly connected with the fact that moral principles and norms such as virtue, bravery, loyalty, and respect are violated, and they are typical for the majority of the hockey players. Therefore, the rules of hockey should be reconsidered to decrease the level of rigidity.