Michigan Warriors coach Moe Mantha realizes that fighting is a part of the game of hockey. During his NHL career, Mantha was known a player who didn't mind defending teammates. And that part of the game should be left intact, says the second-year Warriors coach.
"If a guy is going to give out dirty hits, he better be able to back it up," Mantha said. "During my day, the players policed it. Nowadays, they've taken it out of the players' hands."
With the rash of head-related injuries, USA Hockey and Hockey Canada are -- and have been -- working to eliminate fighting. Mantha, whose Warriors rarely engage in fighting, says players who "stage" brawls and remove equipment for show should be punished. But he's not 100 percent opposed to players getting rough, if the situation deems it necessary.
"It's part of the game; some fans like it, some fans don't like it," Mantha said. "It's all a part of the entertainment of the game. I don't believe in stage fights, I believe in the heat of the moment...
"You play the game, sometimes in the heat of the moment, players are going to disagree with something and settle the differences like men. Like I said, it's entertainment for the fans. Overall, there is a reason (USA Hockey and Hockey Canada want to ban fighting). Right now, they're more worried about prevention, these kids fighting and falling back on their heads. Everyone is worried about these concussions. It'll be interesting to see how stick infractions will (increase)."
According to a Vancouver Sun report, the ban could affect the NHL as soon as the 2012-13 season. Fighting is banned in collegiate hockey, and the North American Hockey League recently handed down severe penalties to Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings and Traverse City North Stars players for their roles during a team-on-team bout.
Adam Biggers handles social media for the Michigan Warriors, a North American Hockey League franchise based in Flint, Mich. Follow the Warriors on Twitter @NAHLWarriors.