Monday, March 26, 2007

An Open Letter to Ed Moran

Mr. Moran,

I saw your article online this morning. I am sure you have received quite a few of these emails. Here’s my take.

You use Todd Fedoruk’s knockout to partially justify ridding fighting from hockey. Do you not realize that Todd would lose his job if fighting were not a part of the game? Or do you realize it and use his knockout to your benefit anyways?

Fighting isn’t going anywhere. I write about it all the time at my blog ( I won’t bore you with the repeated anecdotes as to why fighting is good for the sport. I will say that, when used correctly, it serves a very important purpose to incidents that are much more problematic than fighting. It also serves a purpose to a fan base that has said time and time again that they have no problem with fighting… and, if anything, they’d like to see more fights.

Mr. Moran. The GMs have spoken; they want more instigators before a player is suspended. And as you know, the GMs are an extension of the owners, who we all know, are an extension of our puppet Commissioner. The players have spoken in a player’s poll; 97% support fighting. The fans speak in countless polls; they routinely say that 8 to 9 out of 10 fans support fighting in hockey. And even research displays that fighting has a positive correlation with fan attendance, something that cannot be ignored.

This isn’t PCU. Hockey cannot afford to cater to a handful of writers/fans that say fighting isn’t good for the sport. The NHL has heard all of the arguments, specifically those that center on what you covered in your article (someone is going to die and the Olympics). What you fail to mention however is that there is a much higher chance that someone will die from a hit from behind or a puck or skate to the throat. Remember that hockey players skate at break neck speeds with razor blades on their feet. Clint Malarchuk will never forget that. Players also shoot 100 mph slap shots that players feel compelled to dive in front of.

And don’t forget too that comparing Olympic or NHL playoff hockey to a regular season NHL game is comparing apples to oranges. There is so much more at stake in the Olympics or playoffs. What is at stake is what drives the action. A regular season game doesn’t come close to that drama. Regular season games absolutely need the intensity that culminates in fights. Without that intensity, and without the fights, the NHL will lose more of its fan base. And although Colin Campbell will say that they will look at it, anyone that has followed the business side of the NHL will let you know that that removing fighting the NHL is not a business decision that the NHL will make. Simply put, they cannot afford to.

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