Why Hockey Players Fight

By Alex Mercer

August 5, 2020

Hockey Players are known to be tough and gritty athletes. Often missing teeth and covered with bruises, fighting is not ordinary to the average hockey player.

Hockey players fight to gain momentum, handle an issue on the ice, and stick up for their teammates. These reasons will result in a major penalty, and the player will be sent to the penalty box.

In this article, we will show you why hockey players fight and the effect it has on the game.

Why Do Hockey Player Fight?


Hockey players will often start a fight if their team is losing or inspiring their teammates. Naturally, when a fight occurs, our adrenaline rises, and we become more attentive to the situation.

Hockey players will start a fight to get their team hyped up to play more efficiently and more physically. The fight is often started by the biggest and toughest player on the team.

These players are called enforcers, and their job is to fight others and be as physical as possible. Every team has an enforcer that will fight other players and generate momentum with tier physicality.

Sticking Up For Teammates

Fights often start in hockey when one player takes a cheap shot at another player. To ensure the cheap shot doesn’t happen again, players will often wash the opponent with his glove or start punching the player who took the cheap shot.

Hockey is like every other sport, where there’s a deep bond between players as they gear up to take the ice. When a player gets hit in a way outside of the rules, players often take offense and protect their teammates.

This often results in a fight between players sticking up for their teammate and the player who landed the cheap shot.

Handle An Issue

Fights will often start after a big hit or even in the face off circle. Two players often agree to fight each other, which results in both players throwing their gloves on the ice to square off.

These fights are often mutually agreed upon and will settle an issue or argument between the two players. These fights are often planned minutes or seconds before they actually take place.

Instead of talking to the media about the issues, the great thing about hockey is that the players can settle it on the ice. The referees let the fight happen and let the players settle the issue like men.


The last reason for fighting is just out of pure aggression. Some fighters love to get under player’s skin and love to fight. These players are often called enforces and love physical contact.

There’s no reason for fighting, except for the fact that they love to fight. These players often aren’t as talented as the players that start on the first or second line. They do provide value as they protect these valuable players from other team’s enforcers.

These players are often on the 3rd or 4th line because of their talent, but they play a special role.

See Our Complete List Of Helpful Hockey Articles Here.

Penalty For Fighting

If two players fight in hockey, they will both be sent to the penalty box for a major penalty (5 minutes). For this reason, teams will rarely fight in the playoffs, as they do not want to deal with their most physical player in the penalty box.

Now let’s learn the penalty in each league for fighting, as they differ from professional leagues all the way down to youth leagues.

Professional Leagues

In all professional leagues, fighting is allowed. There will be a penalty of 5 minutes that will be assessed to each team. This will sideline the players that have fought, thus giving a team an advantage if their best player got caught fighting.

This is a strategic move used by teams, to start a fight with the best player to get them off the ice. This is why players like Sydney Crosby and Patrice Bergeron never fight. They’re too valuable for their team’s points output, and overall chance of winning the game.

Professional teams will often have enforcers, or people who will do the fighting for the talented players. 

College & High School Leagues

College and high school leagues do not allow fighting. Players who fight in these leagues will get an automatic ejection.

The main reason for this, is the immaturity of the players. If these leagues allowed fighting, every player would be fighting every chance they get, and it would look like a UFC match. 

Having a 0 tolerance policy on fighting allows for the coaches to focus on coaching and the players to focus on putting the puck in the back of the net.

Youth Leagues

Similar to high school and college, youth leagues have a zero tolerance policy for fighting. If youth players fight, they will be removed from the game and often times they will be removed for several games thereafter.

Youth leagues are all about developing a player’s hockey skills to the fullest. Fighting in hockey is a useless skill that doesn’t actually translate to scoring goals. Fighting is not allowed in Youth and will never be allowed in the future.


Hockey players fight one another to protect teammates, settle arguments and motivate their teams. Fighting increases adrenaline and overall hype for a team.

These emotions often trigger forceful behavior and allow the team to be more focused and locked in to the task at hand; scoring goals. 

Fighting has and will continue to be part of the hockey culture until the end of time. Players stand up for their teammates and will get in fights defending them.

These players are often called enforces, and they’re the largest player on the ice as well as the strongest player. These players are often drafted or signed to a team because of their fighting and physical abilities. These players aren’t as good talent-wise, but they can play enough to impact the game, whether it hits or assists.

About the author

Hey There! My Name is Alex and I run Get Hyped Sports. I created this platform to help people find their love for sports and gaming.

Our work has been featured on platforms like Mashable.com, SVG.com, and XXL.com.

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