When talking about fighting in hockey, there are a lot of different view points that come up. Everyone has their opinions. I have done a post on fighting before which sparked tons of arguments in the comment box. My main argument was fighting in hockey is good when a guy is standing up for their team mate or trying to spark his team. Others said there is no point to fighting that it causes unnecessary stops in the game. We could argue our points until we are blue in the face but the truth is we don’t know because we aren’t the one’s out there.
So I decided to go to the players. I have interviews set up with the top fighters on teams around the league, where I will ask them questions about fighting. There will be new interviews going up throughout the season so keep coming back. It is time we got the players’ perspective.
My first interview is with Chris Thorburn who is currently playing for the Winnipeg Jets. He was drafted to the Buffalo Sabres in 2001 he was their second round pick and went 50th overall. He played 2 games with the Sabres during the 2005-06 season. The following season he played in 39 games for the Pittsburgh Penguins. In the summer before the 07-08 season he was traded to the Atlanta Thrasers who became the Winnipeg Jets in 2011. According to hockeyfights.com he has been in 71 NHL fights in his career (including preseason fights) and 9 of those took place last season. This made him the fight leader for the Jets last season.
Here is what he had to say:
There has been a lot of controversy surrounding fighting in hockey lately, as a player who has been in numerous fights, what is the purpose of fighting in hockey?
“The purpose of fighting in hockey is to create a momentum swing… Stick up for your team mates. Those are probably the two biggest things.”
If fighting was taken out of hockey how would that change the game?
“You would get a lot more guys running around taking cheap shots and stuff like that. I think it really monitors the game.”
Hitting causes the same amount if not more injuries than fighting, why do you think most of the negative attention is focused on fighting rather than hitting?
“Maybe it is because it is something you don’t see in any other sport. Ever since hockey started there has always been a place for fighting. As players, it is normal for us but it is really unfortunate when a fight or hit leads to an injury.”
What fight in your career are you most proud of? Why?
“Probably my favorite fight, not my best fight, but my favorite fight was against Chris Simon in my younger years. He was a guy who played for my hometown team growing up in junior and he was a guy I always loved watching and to be able to fight him was a good story to tell my friends back home.”
*Note* I want to thank Chris for answering my questions and Christina Caligiuri from the Winnipeg Jets for setting up the interview.