In late October the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) announced the unanimous decision to introduce the “one-fight rule” into all ten junior A leagues in the country for the start of the 2015-16 season.
Whether you are for or against this rule, it is going to happen and it will bring some pretty big consequences.
The new rule in the CJHL will result in any player who fights receiving a game misconduct along with their five-minute fighting major; meaning that choosing to fight results in getting kicked out for the rest of the game.
The CJHL also has a four-fight rule where a player will start to receive suspensions for every fight after their fourth fight of the season.
Many other junior hockey leagues around North America have been starting to introduce rules to crack down on fighting.
The Ontario Hockey League has a 10-fight rule, where players will start to receive suspensions after their 11th fight.
The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League has rules that enforce strict suspensions for instigators, aggressors, fighting during warm-ups, fighting twice in the same stoppage and fighting a goaltender.
The United States Hockey League (USHL) has officials paying attention to what they deem as “dangerous plays”, whether minor or major penalties (including fighting), with the commissioner overseeing plays and dishing out suspensions.
Even though it doesn’t seem like all these leagues’ rules are having much of an effect right now, they will soon start to affect the bigger picture.
With fighting being frowned upon and strict rules coming into place to eliminate fighting, soon we will start to see less.
Minor hockey players and junior hockey players throughout North America are no longer going to be forced into fighting to make the lineup or play for their city’s top team.
Bonnyville Jr. A Pontiacs head coach Rick Swan even mentioned that the rule is going to force coaches into looking for a different type of player.
It may not be right away, but the decisions these junior leagues are making will eventually start to grandfather fighters and goons out of hockey.
Five to 10 years down the road you wont have players like New Jersey Devils Cam Janssen, who has 113 fights and has averaged only about four minutes of ice time per game through 318 career NHL games.
There has been a ton of debate over whether fighting still has a place in the NHL and while NHL officials sit around and talk, junior leagues across the North America are taking actions for them.
The days of the fighter will soon be over.