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NHL rookie punches up debate on fighting

Hockey season is already becoming exciting.
Photo via ESPN under Creative Commons License.
Hockey season is already becoming exciting.

NHL rookie Matt Rempe has only played six games with the New York Rangers, and he’s already making his mark on the league, with fans saying that he is bringing back old-school hockey with his rough play and grittiness. 

Many fans applaud the rookie’s drive to fight, but television broadcasters don’t feel the same way.

Fighting is less common in hockey today than it was in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. For example, the Buffalo Sabres finished the 1991-92 season with 2,713 penalty minutes overall.  It was common for teams to have over 2,000 penalty minutes in a season during that time.  Now, however, it’s rare for a team to even clear 1,000.

Rempe has seemingly made it his goal to change that, as he has engaged in three fights in only five games played. One took place during his first-ever shift – before the puck was even dropped at center ice.

Many fans applaud the rookie’s drive to fight, but television broadcasters don’t feel the same way. Fighting is not as normalized as it once was in hockey, and TV broadcasts continue to work on cutting it down, in an effort to make the game more appealing to non-hockey fans. 

As a result of this, some hockey fans claim that players have gotten “softer” and are failing to defend themselves on the ice. That is why some fans are so enamored with Rempe. They enjoy that element of toughness and excitement being brought back to the game. 

But even his fans are concerned for his safety. Just a couple of days after his most recent fight, Rempe was left with a swollen-shut black eye. 

This worried fans about his health, as he is only 21 years old. Especially considering what happened to a young Sidney Crosby and his concussion issues, Rempe’s rough play could end his career prematurely.

But it’s unclear what the future will bring. And until then, fans should enjoy Rempe’s spunk and overall light-hearted view of the game.

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About the Contributor
Emma Powell
Emma Powell, Staff Writer
Emma Powell is a sophomore and a first year Staff Writer. If she’s not at theater rehearsal, she can be found reading a good book, watching a hockey game, or hanging out with friends.
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