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High School Ice Hockey:
Some Thoughts on Penalties for Fighting

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

By Mike Costantino
SJSports Staff Writer

After month's embarrassment at Voorhees between Clearview and Cherokee, I started thinking about what would be the best course of action to penalize a player, especially a senior, who participates/initiates in a fight during any game, not just a playoff game. Now over the years the league has addressed fighting and the penalty has increased to a 5 game suspension and a $250 fine to the team. We spoke to a few coaches and they are thinking of asking for $250 from a senior prior to the playoffs begins and if you don’t put it up you don't play. Well while I do agree with the idea, most parents probably will not, mainly for financial reasons as most of the kids play on travel teams, juniors or whatever and the cost is already huge.

What repercussions does a senior have playing in what will turn out to be his last game for his high school? You can fine him the $250, but why would he pay? Where does the coaches’ responsibility start?? You can only preach discipline and sportsmanship so much; players have to take responsibility for their actions. So what’s the right reaction to a player’s choice to fight on the ice? Is it possible to reach an agreement with the principals of all the schools that if a player from the SJHSIHL is involved in an altercation that he is suspended from school as well? What about penalizing the team?? When a violation is committed at the college level, players accepting money, recruiting violations, most times the program is punished, more so than the player. Would putting a team on probation, thus not allowing playoff participation the following season, be a fair punishment?

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