Fighting is a part of hockey.
Fighting in the NHL continues to become less common. According to dropyourgloves.com, there were 0.32 fights-per-game in 2015/16. That’s the lowest rate in the last 47 years.
The Ontario Hockey League recently decided to suspend players for two games if they accumulate three fights in a season. While this is only one rule passed by one league, it is more evidence that future generations will be less inclined to fight.
That would create a different culture than what Lance Ward experienced. He played in the WHL for the Red Deer Rebels in the mid-1990s.
“I absolutely did not have it in me when I first started playing junior hockey. I didn’t have my first fight until my very last game as a 16-year-old,” recalls Ward.
Ward wanted to make the NHL. So he changed his approach.
“I was told that a guy who has 20 fights and 20 points is highly coveted. You would fight every five or six games just to get a fight under your belt,” Ward says.
Ward played 209 games in the NHL, fighting 29 times. He finished his career with five seasons in Europe (Sweden and Germany).
Ward joined me on Inside Sports Monday night and said there’s a different mentality about aggression in Europe: