USA Hockey and Hockey Canada are considering putting into effect rules that would end fighting in nonprofessional hockey leagues as soon as next season, reports The New York Times.
“The official stance from Hockey Canada is that we want to get rid of fighting as quickly as we can,” said Hockey Canada CEO Bob Nicholson. “Our ultimate goal is to remove fighting.”
The proposed rules would affect multiple hockey leagues spanning across the globe, according to the Times, who are tired of waiting for the National Hockey League to propose their own changes. While fighting has long been considered a traditional part of the sport, there has been an increasing amount of concern about the safety of such practices with the growing knowledge of the long-term effects of concussions.
“One of the causes of concussions is fighting,” David Branch, president of the Canadian Hockey League, told The New York Times. “And I believe that there is more and more recognition that our game does not need fighting to survive, to be part of the entertainment package, you might say, because of the concerns of injuries and other concerns that could very well be a byproduct of fighting.”
It is believed that the organizations are looking at multiple ways to significantly limit the amount of fighting occurring in nonprofessional games. One option is to go the route of the N.C.A.A., where fighting results in an immediate ejection. Currently in most leagues, fighting results in just a five-minute penalty.