The Canadian Junior Hockey League voted to implement a one-fight rule that will kick in throughout the entire association next year.
This means players in the SJHL, along with the BCHL, AJHL, MHL and MJHL, will receive an automatic game misconduct after a fight next year rather than receiving a five-minute major. The other five CJHL leagues, SIJHL, NOJHL, OJHL, CCHL, and LHJAAAQ, were already playing under the one-fight rule.
Since the CJHL is a pipeline for the NCAA, which upholds the rule of an automatic game misconduct for a fight, it makes sense that they implemented the regulation.
In an interview with CTV News, Kirk Lamb, the president of the CJHL, explained why the rule was put into place by saying, “This was done as part of our normal review of regular rules and regulations, but also recognition of the changing culture of the game, the changing appetite of some of this type of behaviours.”
The Canadian Hockey League (major junior) still holds the rule of handing out a five-minute major for a player’s first fight and a game misconduct for the second fight of the game. The OHL does hold a rule that puts a cap on 10 fights per player each season.
Yorkton Terriers general manager Don Chesney isn’t surprised to see stricter rules put into place in junior hockey. He thought it was inevitable that the league would make changes to try to squeeze out fighting.
“You knew this was coming,” he said. “The way the rules are going they are trying to cut down the fights in games. It’s just the way it is these days.”
Chesney doesn’t, however, see fighting becoming completely extinct in the SJHL.
“I don’t think they’ll ever take fighting completely out of the game,” he said. “I think they know there is a place for it and they can’t take it completely out. I just see them continuing to make stricter and stricter rules on fighting.”
With the one-fight rule, the Terriers architect sees ‘spearing and cheap hits’ increasing and line brawls significantly decreasing.
“I think there will be more spearing and cheap hits because guys know the other guy probably won’t want to fight because he won’t want to leave the game,” said Chesney. “And there probably won’t be too many games where you see a line brawl or a bunch of fights in the last 10 minutes of the third period. Guys don’t want to get suspended so that stuff probably won’t happen too much anymore.”