Fist Fight: The NHL Doesn’t Need Goons
Fighting in NHL hockey is illegitimate; it is not an essential part of the game and is merely gratuitous violence. There is no need for a “goon” on the roster of any hockey team, and fighting should be prohibited in the NHL. This paper will make the above argument in three parts: the first part of the paper will show that such gratuitous violence is not a necessary component of the structure of the game; the second part will show the counter argument for the legitimation of such violence; and the third part will provide a refutation of the counter argument. Fighting is Illegitimate in NHL Hockey
The reason why fighting is illegitimate in NHL hockey is that it is gratuitous violence. Such violence is illegitimate as it gives rise to what Jim Parry calls a genuine moral problem, which occurs “when violence exceeds what is necessary for its success, whether used instrumentally or not” (210). In hockey, the primary aim is to score the most goals to win and fighting does not contribute significantly to that aim. There are other forms of hockey, like pond hockey or pick-up hockey, which do not include fighting. Fighting in NHL hockey is a mere consequence of a dominant model of competition, where external rewards can only be won by one party at the loss of others (McMurtry 205); this is translated into the commercial model of NHL hockey, and according to McMurtry, “…well-known and systematic pathologies of competitive conflict – violence, cheating… and so on – are a law-like consequence of the dominant structure of competition and not a problem of competition as such” (201). In submerged and free models of competition, however, such pathologies do not occur (or as often) as in dominant models, because there are no ‘zero-sum’ rewards (external rewards that only benefit one party at the expense of others) to motivate pathological behaviour like fighting....