Why is fighting tolerated in ice hockey?

The rules by the International Ice Hockey Federation (for men at least) says this –

1 Answer

Firstly, note that the IIHF rules (on the left in your image) include “an Automatic Game Misconduct or a Match penalty”. Both of those result in the player taking no further part in the match, so fighting isn’t allowed under IIHF rules.

Therefore I think your question should really be “Why is fighting tolerated in the NHL?” The answer to that one is because sport is entertainment, and there is a long-term belief that fans want to see fights. While some more recent studies show that the effect is perhaps neutral, fighting is a part of hockey traditions. This Guardian article probably captures it correctly:

until teams throughout the sport – and not just NHL teams in Canada or the United States – see a negative impact on their bottom line, fighting is probably going to continue to exist in the sport

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