How Does Fighting In Hockey Work

Fighting in hockey is a unique and controversial aspect of the sport. Here are 5 facts to help you better understand how fighting works in hockey:
1. Fighting is not an official part of the game: The National Hockey League (NHL) and other professional leagues do not condone or promote fighting, but they also do not penalize players for engaging in fights.
2. Players can receive penalties for fighting: While fighting is not directly penalized, players who engage in fights can receive penalties for various infractions such as instigating the fight, refusing to stop fighting, or removing their helmets before a fight.
3. Fighting is part of the sport’s culture: Fighting has a long-standing history in hockey and is often seen as a way for players to protect their teammates or change the momentum of a game.
4. Enforcers are players specifically known for fighting: Some players on a team’s roster are known as “enforcers” and their primary role is to deter opponents from taking advantage of their teammates through physical intimidation and fighting if necessary.
5. Safety measures are in place to minimize injuries: To ensure player safety, referees closely monitor fights and step in when they deem it necessary to protect a player. Additionally, players are required to wear protective gear including helmets and gloves.


1. Is fighting allowed in all hockey leagues?
In professional leagues like the NHL, fighting is allowed, but it is less common and sometimes penalized in amateur, college, and youth leagues.

2. Can players fight whenever they want?
Players have the freedom to engage in fights during gameplay, but they should not initiate fights for no reason. Referees can penalize players for instigating a fight without a valid reason.

3. Are there any consequences for fighting in hockey?
While players themselves do not receive specific penalties for fighting, their teams might be disadvantaged as both players involved in a fight are required to serve a 5-minute penalty, reducing the team’s manpower on the ice.

4. Do players face any disciplinary actions for fighting?
In addition to penalties incurred during games, players who fight excessively or exhibit dangerous behavior during fights may face disciplinary action from the league, including fines or suspensions.

5. Are there any rules during a fight?
When two players engage in a fight, other players on the ice are not allowed to join the altercation. Additionally, fights end when the referees decide to intervene or when both players have exhausted themselves and are separated.

6. Does fighting serve a purpose in hockey?
Some argue that fighting in hockey helps regulate the intensity and physicality of the game, providing an outlet for players to vent frustrations and settle disputes. However, others contend that fighting should be eliminated as it promotes violence and poses unnecessary risks to players.

7. Are there any efforts to reduce fighting in hockey?
Over the years, the NHL has implemented rules to discourage fighting, and there is an ongoing discussion about its place in the sport. Many believe that enforcing stricter penalties would reduce the frequency of fights and promote a safer playing environment.

BOTTOM LINE: Fighting in hockey is not officially encouraged, but it remains an integral part of the sport due to its historical significance and role in player protection. While safety measures are in place, there are ongoing debates and efforts to decrease the prevalence of fighting in hockey.