With the unfortunate incident that occurred during the Toronto Maple Leafs game against the Montreal Canadiens, when George Parros went face first into the ice during a fight with Colton Orr, the fighting in hockey debate has come to the forefront once again. The reason I started this series is to get a different perspective that we haven’t heard much of before. The truth is we can all argue our points until we are blue in the face but we don’t really know because we aren’t the ones out there.
I have interviews set up with the top fighters on teams around the league where I will ask them questions about fighting. My first interview was with Chris Thorburn of the Winnipeg Jets, you can find that here. There will be new interviews going up throughout the season so keep coming back. It is time we got the players’ perspective.
In this installment I talk to Eric Selleck of the San Antonio Rampage. Eric played for the State University of New York at Oswego. After he played there he was signed by the Florida Panthers in 2010. He has spent most of his career in the AHL with the San Antonio Rampage. He has been in 69 AHL fights and 4 NHL fights (including preseason fights) and he lead the Panthers in fights this preseason before getting assigned to the Rampage.
Here is what Eric 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?
It’s most of all a protection thing, you know like protecting your skill players, protecting your team mates. Like just calming their team down… I know they are thinking of taking it out of the game, but I think that’s impossible.
If fighting was taken out of hockey how would that change the game?
It would be way easier to take liberties on other teams’ skilled players. If you hit someone dirty or maybe a little bit late there would be no repercussions really. They might get a penalty but that would be all.
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?
Fighting is directed towards the head. I mean there’s body shots, but right now the big thing is concussions and head issues in hockey and hits its obviously targeted to the body. It’s a major penalty for a hit to the head. Yeah there are injuries with hits but its just a different target.
Do you think the Parros incident will change players’ stances on fighting?
I don’t think so. It wasn’t a knock out punch or anything, it was a freak accident. His hands were tied up he couldn’t get them out to break his fall. Its a tough thing to see happen right now in the hockey world. I knew him personally, so it was tough to see.
What is your favourite fight in hockey history? Why?
I used to be a huge Wendel Clark fan. He used to run over guys, fight and score goals. I used to always love Wendel Clark. He was the man back in the day.
What is your favourite fight that you’ve ever been in?
I don’t have a favourite but I prefer the ones I win.
Now that you’ve heard from Eric what do you think? Leave your opinions in the comment box below, on facebook, or on twitter!
*Note* I want to thank Eric again for answering my questions and Alex DiFilippo from the San Antonio Rampage for setting up the interview.