In a groundbreaking development, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) has officially implemented a rule to ban fighting. It signals a significant shift in the sport's approach to player safety. Several insiders, including Mikael Lalancette and Stephane Leroux of RDS, have confirmed this monumental decision. It aims to address concerns surrounding the physicality of the game.
Last month, discussions emerged regarding the QMJHL's intention to prohibit fighting. The office of Quebec sports minister Isabelle Charest expressed its support. She emphasizes that future fighters should face suspensions once the new rule takes effect.
On Friday, the league unveiled the precise regulations: fights will now result in an automatic game misconduct, along with a 10-minute misconduct penalty. The instigator will face an automatic one-game suspension, while the aggressor will be suspended for two games.
This ban will be implemented starting from the 2023-24 season, marking a significant milestone in the league's commitment to player safety and well-being.
The QMJHL has consistently demonstrated a proactive stance when it comes to disciplining fighting. They have previously added a 10-minute misconduct penalty to the standard five-minute major in 2020. With this new ban, the league takes its commitment to a higher level, further prioritizing the safety and welfare of its players.
Frequency of fighting in QMJHL has been decreasing over the years
The driving force behind this momentous change is Enrico Ciccone, a Liberal member of Quebec's national assembly and a former NHL enforcer. He is renowned for his 85 fights in 374 NHL games. Ciccone's advocacy for player safety has played a pivotal role in reshaping the league's approach to physicality.
Fighting in hockey has been on the decline for years, prompting the need for proactive measures within the rulebook. The QMJHL has witnessed a significant decrease in fighting incidents, dropping from an average of 0.78 fights per game in the 2011-12 season to a mere 0.07 fights last season. (Source: Hockeyfeed)
The ban on fighting in the QMJHL not only aligns with the ongoing efforts to prioritize player safety but also reflects the changing landscape of the sport. By taking this bold step, the league sets an example for other hockey organizations to reconsider the role of fighting in the game. To explore alternative means of promoting competitiveness while safeguarding the well-being of players.