Fights are an integral part of team sports. They are bound to happen when both sides are looking to beat the opponent. Sometimes, fights are due to misconduct and creating a tension on purpose. More often, these fights happen randomly, thanks to intense adrenaline and varying circumstances, in which no one really wanted to hurt a rival.
In ice hockey you can see fights very often. However, in men’s hockey fighting is far more present, primarily because the rules of the game make it possible. Men’s hockey allows clean body checking, making it much more of a contact sport. Not to mention, it is in men’s nature to be more aggressive, willing to resolve a conflict with their fists, ‘showing who is the boss”.
I WILL SHOW YOU WHO’S THE BOSS
Of course, from time to time, clashes occur in women’s hockey as well, but certainly not at the same extent as with men’s. Female hockey rules do not allow much physical contact. Ice hitting is forbidden, but rubbing out on the boards is allowed. The game is more based on technical skills. Unlike men, who are likely to get into fistsfights, women mostly solve their conflicts in shorter or longer quarrels. Indeed, women are more inclined to threaten verbally, but less likely to start a fight. However, that doesn’t mean that women’s sports fights don’t occur: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7NdYjByLII
IF THE RULES WERE DIFFERENT, WOULD THE GLOVES COME OFF?
Some people are skeptical when it comes to women’s hockey. They don’t believe women have the ability to be aggressive and fight if need be. However, in reality most women’s hockey leagues have different rules then men’s. This prevents women from being able to do certain things that are more encouraged in men’s hockey.
That said, I wonder: if the rules were different, would women continue to simply threaten, yell and push each other, or would the gloves come off?
What do you think of the hockey fights? Have you ever been in one? Do you think the rules should be changed?
I THINK I HAVE NEVER BEEN IN A BIG FIGHT
Aneta Lédlová (Czechia, 23): Fights like in the NHL league are exaggerated. However it is not uncommon for women to have a small fight in front of the net, when a player sprays, runs or slashes the goalie after the whistle. Even when you are trying to push your way through other players, sometimes it’s unavoidable to come to the blows or a fight. Honestly, I think I have never been in a big fight. But when I played with boys, fights happened often. It was funny. They always wanted to protect me.
I LEARNT MY LESSON
Dalene Rhode (South African Republic, 23): When I was younger I had my moments of pushing and shoving until I was punched and split my lip open. Actually, it’s quite a funny story. I was 13 years old, still playing with boys. We were playing regionals, when one of the bigger guys crossed checked me in the corner. I got up quickly, skated after him, and finally jumped on his back. He then swung me over his shoulder, gave me one punch and slit my lip open. During that time he did not know I was a girl and to this day he feels bad. But, I learnt my lesson.
IT WOULD BE FUN TO BE MORE PHYSICAL DURING THE GAMES
Andrine Furulund (Norway, 19) : Sometimes I find a bit strange that we are not allowed to play more physically, but the rules are written to be respected. I have been sitting in a penalty box a lot, because I am quite a tall player, so whenever it comes to a collision, smaller players fall down, and I get a penalty. Frankly, I think it would be fun to be more physical during the games, but not too much. I don’t want the hits and fighting to ruin a game.
IF I GET A HIT, I WILL HIT BACK, FOR SURE
I DON’T FEEL FIGHTS ARE A PART OF OUR GAME
Amalie Andersen (Denmark, 18): I don’t really know what to think about fighting in hockey. It’s funny to see when men do it in the NHL league, but it doesn’t happen a lot in women’s hockey. I think that’s fine because I don’t feel that it’s a part of our game. I have been in a fight once, and that was last year at Worlds with U18, in the game against team Poland. It was in front of our own net, feelings were high. It was an important game, our goalie saved the puck, and a Polish player came in, hit her, and it all escalated.
SOMETIMES YOU GET INTO A FIGHT BECAUSE YOU STAND UP FOR YOUR TEAMMATE
Liga Miljone (Latvia, 20): I don’t think about fights at all, because if players would have played a clear game then there would no be need for fights. Of course, it sometimes happens when you get into a fight because you stand up for your teammate, but then it is not a real fight. There is maybe a few hits, but nothing huge. Recently I had to react when my teammate got an awful hit. I thought that was absolutely not okay, so I had to interfere and stand up for her.
If you read these statements, you would agree that the girls mostly think the same about fights. They definitely occur, for many different reasons, but most of the girls do not pay too much attention to them.
Marine Dinant (Belgium, a linesmen at IIHF, 23): I don’t think fighting should be a part of women’s hockey, because it has never been before. If i compare it with the men’s hockey I ref at home, I am happy women do not fight.
When men fight, it takes a lot of time in the game. It’s also a big thing about revenge, and it affects the whole team. I like it more when they play a good hockey game with speed and skills. Then you can see who is better and stronger. If they would allow fighting in women’s hockey, I think you would see a completely different game than they play right now. Now you can see the passion and the skills teams have. By allowing it, I think it would be less of it. Winning by being the best and strongest team is what the game is all about.
THE ONLY THING YOU WILL REMEMBER WILL BE THE FINAL RESULT
We all seem to agree what the game is really about: to play clean, to stay calm under pressure, to be the best teammate and athlete you can be, and, of course, to use our words and skills, and not our fists. It is clear that women’s hockey is different than men’s in many ways, but in the end, the only thing you will remember about the game, whether it’s men or women’s, is the final result.