January 17, 2014

Former NHL Tough Guy Tim Hunter Calls For End To Fighting

In his day Tim Hunter was known for two things: his nose and his rough style of play.

Best known as a grappler with the Calgary Flames, everyone remembers Tim Hunter for his wrestling with the likes of Marty McSorley, Kevin McClelland and Dave Semenko. He also played with the Vancouver Canucks and briefly with Quebec and San Jose. He played 852 games in the league, totalling 3146 penalty minutes. That still ranks him 8th all time in NHL history.

So it may surprise some when Tim Hunter calls for the end of fighting. But Hunter nicely echoes my own thoughts on fighting in hockey in this article by Eric Francis.

“The fights where guys come onto the ice and just drop their gloves don’t really have a place in the game for me,” said the legendary Calgary Flames tough guy.

“I still believe intimidation is a big part of all sports, whether it’s golf or hockey, and you have to have a mechanism to police things and you can’t rely on the ref to do that. You have to be able to send a message. But guys have to play the game and do their job.
“There’s nothing wrong with two guys getting together in the heat of the battle and settling a score by duking it out — the spontaneity of it is a beautiful part of the game. But the game has digressed with — they call it staged fighting, I don’t. If that’s all you’re going to do, do it between periods and call it a stage show.”
He goes on to say . . . 
“My goal was to be a hockey player, not sit on the bench and have one fight,” said Hunter, a Calgary native who was a fan-favourite here from 1983-92.
“I’m quite proud I can say I played against everyone in my day and managed to contribute in different ways. The teams that aren’t successful today are the teams using guys (as a pure goon). You have to use guys, let them bang bodies and grind it out — it sets the tone for the rest of the team and it calms things down at the same time.”
Here's the full article which includes Lanny McDonalds similar views on fighting in hockey.

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