What analytics can tell us about the role of fighting in hockey
Sports Illustrated - 03/28/2016
The role of fighting in the game is certainly divisive. On the one hand, new information about the long-term health consequences of head trauma makes it in the interest of players to take it out of the game. On the other hand, proponents of fighting such as Bobby Smith say that so-called “enforcers” act as a form of police on the rink, ensuring that certain liberties aren’t taken with their star players. Without fighting, it is argued, the game gets more violent, leaving players open to even more injuries.
And so it is rather timely that a new study has been released by Greg DeAngelo,Brad Humphreys (both at West Virginia University) and Imke Reimers (at Northeastern University). The authors examine the hypothesis that fighting acts as a deterrent to “bad behavior” on the ice.