Alright with this being part 5 in the series let’s do a recap of what we have learned so far. In part 1 we talked to Chris Thorburn of the Winnipeg Jets. One of the thing that he said that stood out to me is that ever since hockey started there has always been a place for fighting. Then in part 2 we talked to Eric Selleck who plays for the Florida Panthers and their AHL affiliate the San Antonio Rampage. The highlight of Eric’s interview was that he thought it was impossible to take fighting out of the game. For part 3 we talked to Jared Boll of the Columbus Blue Jackets. He told us a great fight he remembered watching as a kid. Finally in part 4 we talked to Steven Oleksy of the Washington Capitals. I liked his interview because he said everything that I wanted to come out of these interviews.
In this installment I interviewed Cullen Eddy of the Adirondack Phantoms, the AHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers. Last season he was second on the team in fights with 16 and in his AHL career he has been in a total of 29 fights.
Here is what Cullen had to say:
What is the purpose of fighting in hockey?
Each individual player has a role. You have your goal scorers, you have defensive guys, and in this day in age you have tough guys. They protect certain players on the team and kind of look out for each other. They play a role anywhere from trying to get momentum in the game to protecting a guy that’s recently been hit from behind or that’s taken a cheap shot from the other team. I think the tough guy is a position that not everyone wants to do, but every team needs a guy like that keeping the guys in check from other teams.
If fighting was taken out of hockey how would that change the game?
If fighting was taken out of hockey it would change the game. I wouldn’t really say for better or worse. There are a lot of different studies being done right now with the brain and stuff like that, so it is kind of tough to take a position on it. It would kind of tone it down a bit and maybe we would start to see a little more cheap shots, things like that, that are still part of the game. It’s an emotional game. Guys are on the edge through out the game so, they could turn to dirty plays here and there with no real consequences, rather than just getting fined or slapped with a couple games on the wrist. Whereas with fighting makes sure guys understand.
Why do you think most of the negative attention is focused on fighting rather than hitting?
Hitting is part of the game, it’s one of those things you can’t take out of the game. Fighting is more organized. There’s that spur of the moment where guys are in a battle and it just goes but I think the biggest thing they are looking into are the guys squaring off kind of fighting that they are trying to prevent. With hitting there is for sure a lot of head trauma, things like that. Being a player you can see how fights develop and how they start and I think they are a little more controllable than actual hitting in the game.
What is your favourite fight in hockey history? Why?
I don’t know there has been a couple. As a player, and as a person, you don’t really want to see someone hurt or injured especially in a fight. Both guys heading into know there are consequences and outcomes. I would have to say Derek Boogaard vs Todd Fedoruk when he kind of tugged him all the way down to the ice letting him know that he wanted a fight. Boogaard kind of gave it to him and broke his jaw I think. That was a situation where a player got hurt but thinking back he was looking for it and there are consequences when fights happen.
What fight in your career stands out most for you?
I don’t know. I don’t really consider myself a fighter but if a guy takes a cheap shot or something I’m more than willing to go after him. One that kind of sticks out to me, and it’s kind of funny because I wouldn’t even say I won the fight, is when I fought a tough guy Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond. He kind of ran our goal tender and I stepped up and fought him and he kind of took it to me with a lot of punches. I woke up the next morning with a stiff neck and ribs but it takes a lot of courage for anyone on the ice to go after a guy like that it’s their position to play. Especially when you aren’t technically a fighter in general it’s tough to go after bigger stronger guys. If anything that fight really stuck out in my career.
*Note* I would like to thank Cullen again for answering my questions and Bob Rotruck for setting up the interview.