Is the Enforcer Era Coming to an End in the NHL?
We all love the intensity of hockey games, especially the rivalry games. We also love the hard hits and fights that come with the sport. At some point in time, though, we have to realize that we’re playing a game of hockey, not UFC, not boxing, not wrestling, but hockey.
That said, there are some hits that go too far in the League where you have to have an enforcer to step in for their team mate and drop the mitts with the other guy. On top of that, you have automatic line brawls that come from a blood-fueled rivalry. So I ask the question, is the enforcer era coming to an end in this League?
First off, if you’re new to the game of hockey, an enforcer is a player who fights others. As I said previously, they stand up for their team mate whenever they feel the opposing player did something wrong and deserves to get “punished” for it. They also start fights to change the momentum of a game.
That said, we go back to the question. What’s my take? I say yes. Why? Again, the fans want to watch hockey. The guys want to play hockey, and their coaches want them to play hockey. Everyone knows you have to play with emotion if you want to win, but you don’t want to be too overwhelmed with emotion that you become undisciplined. Each and every day, Commissioner Gary Bettman, co-commissioner Bill Daly and others work together to try to find ways to make hockey a much safer sport while maintaining the intensity and enjoyment level of hockey.
One of those ways is taking cheap shots out of the game. That’s the reason there is the Department of Player Safety, regardless of how consistent/inconsistent their decisions are. Well, with attempting to take cheap shots out of the game, you also drastically reduce the need for enforcers. Now, the enforcers are either taken off the NHL roster and re-assigned at the AHL level or just not playing hockey altogether.
Does this mean that fighting will be out of the game naturally sooner or later? It’s leaning towards that. Eventually, it could very well disappear from the game. For now, though, fighting is here to stay, but the number of enforcers in this League is drastically diminishing.
Do you think the enforcer era is coming to an end? What’s your take on the issue? Vote in the poll below and let us know in the comments below!