Most hockey "fans" love fighting, however only hockey players understand the reasoning behind why fighting is a crucial element to the game. Although there are plenty of reasons, the biggest factor that makes fighting so paramount is the sense of control it brings to the game. If fighting was not a part of the game it would be detrimental to certain players, the reason being is because with fighting involved players understand the boundary that is set in place. I absolutely love the direction the NHL is going in, there is no longer that enforcer mentality. The game is shifting into a league of speed and skill, so the "enforcer" is a role that is quickly diminishing. The fighting atmosphere in the NHL is making its way down the hockey spectrum into Junior Hockey, in the way that rules of fighting are changing. In past years fighting has been slowly "cut out" and players are having to adapt to the changes. Fighting is meant to be for protection, not entertainment. Of course fighting does have its entertainment value but for true hockey fans they understand that players shouldn't have to fight for entertainment, when they drop there mitts they are doing it for a purpose. The fights that fans and players like are the ones with a lot of emotion, when a player takes a cheap shot and someone has to step up to the plate and let the other team know that those actions are unacceptable. That is when you will get the crowd roaring and support from fans.
As far as Junior Hockey goes, it is very tough to decide on where I stand for fighting. Over the past few years USA Hockey has been changing the rules of fighting in a way that is slowly cutting down on the number of fights in a given season. I do agree that "staged" fights should be taken out of junior hockey, however not allowing fights is no good. Fights need to be allowed in order to keep control of the game. I have seen it over my career that with strict fighting rules players feel as though they can get away with a lot more. Cheap shots are apparent throughout the game when players are ejected after fighting. When fights are allowed there is a different feeling on the ice, players will be safer because they don't want to have to step up to the plate when the other team doesn't like what they are doing. With all that being said, there are pros and cons in the rule changes when it comes to fighting but fighting should never be eliminated from the game of hockey. It is needed and in a way it protects the players and that is what truly matters.