Hockey Violence Essay

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Ice in our Blood and Blood on our Ice

Ice in our Blood and Blood on our Ice

"I went to a fight the other night and a hockey game broke out." Rodney Dangerfield. Ever since the start to the game of hockey, violence has always played a role in the sport. While that role both contributing positive and negative aspects to the game, violence has taken its toll on not only the players but the fans as well. As violence in hockey is as many fans say part of the game and what makes “hockey” hockey, the negative outcomes overweigh the positive. From fights to brawls, slashes to high sticks, boarding to head contact the violence surrounds the entire game. As fans cheer and rant at their full potential when a fight breaks out during a hockey
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Nevertheless, it is difficult to accept that violence is incidental when NHL players who specialize in fighting, goons or enforcers, are paid a premium for this behavior even though their hockey skills are marginal and those who refuse to fight are consigned to the minor leagues as punishment.
However, when looking specifically at the economic value that violence is an attribute of the product intentionally promoted by leagues and teams to increase attendance and profits. The underlying assumption is that fans have a taste for violence, and violence attracts larger crowds, larger crowds increase revenue, which, given costs, increases profits. This hypothesis is compatible with the response of successive NHL presidents when the question of violence is raised: that the league is in the "entertainment business" and therefore has to put on a "spectacle." It is also consistent with the act of paying players a premium to fight and the statistical finding that violence and NHL attendance are positively correlated. While it is quite clear that violence was widespread in hockey before and during the early years of the NHL, when it was strictly a Canadian game, as some of the classic NHL brawls have taken place in Canada between Canadian teams, and the largest NHL fan riot occurred in Montreal.
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