Hockey: Post-game testiness touches on no-fighting rule

Nipissing and Queen's had a little set-to after the Gaels' 6-3 win Saturday that brought up a feature of CIS hockey.

Players and coaches coming from leagues where fighting is part of the game, have to adjust to different ground rules. There are probably a few who wish it was allowed, but understand enough of university politics to know why it's a non-starter (the same reason MMA would never be a university sport, even though former CIS wrestlers have taken it up). Still, tempers flare, especially when it's tooth and nail for playoff positioning.
"(A)n altercation at centre ice during handshakes boiled over into a shoving match at Memorial Gardens ...

"Coaches on both sides burst onto the ice in time to drag their players away from any further action ... The bad blood put a cap on a mean-spirited third period for a pair of teams in the midst of the OUA East Division playoff race that included 90 minutes in penalties and a pair of large scrums that resulted in five Nipissing players cramped together in the penalty box at one point."
Queen's coach Brett Gibson is quoted saying,
"... it's OUA hockey. There's no fighting and that makes it tough, so frustrations run high."
It's not clear that what Gibson, ex-OHLer meant was that fighting serves to limit stickwork and cheap shots, or gives players an outlet to blow off steam. There also has to be some allowances with post-game comments. That argument has great sway among old-school hockey guys, although it's always contradicted by other stuff. (If fighting's there to straighten out a dirty player, how come enforcers only fight enforcers?)

Nipissing bench boss Mike McParland, who's played and coached in Europe where fighting carries an automatic ejection, sort of made the equivalent of the 'nothing good happens after 2 a.m.' argument:
"I just said to our guys it's tough in this league when there is no fighting. When you get into a situation like that, get out of there in the future and let's learn from that."
That probably is closer to the right answer. Granted, there might be a few people in men's hockey who wonder if they might get more fans out to games if it was allowed. For instance, many sports fans who are in university will go to bar on Saturday to watch a UFC card, but those same people are barely aware there is a decent brand of hard-hitting hockey right on campus. How could someone not make that (very distant) connection?

At the same time, there are probably are CIS players who don't miss fighting in the slightest and are glad you have to get even on the scoreboard. It can't be fun taking notes during a lecture with swollen knuckles.

Queen's Clinton McCullough and Nip U's Ryan Maunu each have to sit out a game for fighting. For those riveted by the race in the middle of the OUA East, Queen's (12-10-1) probably has assured itself of at least a fifth-place finish, since they're now six points up on Nipissing.

The Gaels sit two points back of Carleton and Toronto (each 12-7-3, with a game in hand),and play their last four at home after next Friday's visit to play the Varsity Blues.

(Great job by the North Bay Nugget to get "gongshow" into publication. Back in the day at the Portage la Prairie Daily Graphic, it was considered a personal and professional failure to have a couple weeks go by during hockey season without printing gong show.)

Gongshow at the Gardens; Lakers, Gaels engage in handshake shoving match (North Bay Nugget)
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  1. I must be missing something here...according to the boxscore, Clinton McCullough and Ryan Maunu received five-minute fighting penalties along with game misconducts. Isn't that exactly what the punishment for fighting should be? No other team sport allows you to fight another player, go catch your breath, and then come back in and do it again.

    Would you ever allow fighting in basketball, for instance? Like hell you would. There would be no point. It's only allowed at some levels of hockey because people like Brett Gibson think it's tougher to play hockey when you don't get to punch a guy in the face.

  2. well Maunu for nipissing didnt even drop his gloves to fight and was just in a scrum and was punched in the face over and over but still got a fighting major for some reason which took 5 of top 6 NU players off the ice for the last half of the 3rd period so there is something wrong about being given a game misconduct when you didnt do anything

    and fighting is awesome in hockey but at the same time there was 2000+ people at the gardens last night so its not like its keeping people away here

  3. For sure, it could have been a bad call. It's a catch-22 when that happens. If one guy drops his gloves and starts punching, it's going to be fighting majors for each almost every time.

    Why? The official doesn't want to put one team on a three-minute power play (i.e., if they gave the one guy a minor for roughing).

    Good point that the Lakers had 2,297 out Saturday night. Western had 1,821 for its game at the JLC, so there is interest in some OUA towns despite not having the promise of punch-ups.

    It would be great if the juniors got rid of it ... won't happen, though.

  4. I've always heard about the arguement for allowing fighting at the university game..would it increase attendance? Would teams load up on goons? Would it cut down stickwork?