Published On: Sat, Aug 20th, 2016

OHL to crack down on fighting, blindside hits

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The Ontario Hockey League has announced player safety initiatives that could shape the future of the game.

Most notably, the league has lowered the threshold prior to automatic disciplinary action from 10 fights per player per season to three fights per player per season.

What this means is players will be subject to an automatic two game suspension for each fight exceeding the threshold. If a player is instigated upon, however, that fighting major is not included in the player’s total number of fights.

On top of that, a new penalty for blind side hits has been introduced, whereby the officials can asses a minor, a major, and game misconduct or match penalty based on the nature of the specific incident in question.

“As the number one development league in the world for the NHL and CIS, the OHL continually challenges ourselves to improve the on-ice environment and evolve the game for the benefit of the most important people in our game, our players,” said OHL commissioner David Branch.

The Western Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League may soon follow suit, meaning the number of players with significant experience engaging in fisticuffs moving on to the pro level could soon be greatly diminished.

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