Do the fights in hockey bring anything to the game?

I know that just asking the question is blasphemous, but it needs to be addressed.

Iíve heard on more than one occasion from colleagues that the fights are sometimes staged. I understand that wonít matter to some, but to me, as a fan who doesnít really care if fights are allowed or not, staged fights, lowers the integrity of the game.

Historically, hockey fights were used as a way for team enforcers to exact revenge or keep another team in line on the ice. I understand that. Hockey fighting is used in the same manner as pitchers in baseball protect their players, but thereís no room in hockey for acting.

Staged fights turn one of the most exciting parts of the game into a skit (much like pro wrestling) and fans deserve better than that. Iím not saying that the fights should even be a part of the sport, but if the act is going to continue, it shouldnít be predetermined.

Iím not certain and donít have any information that hockey is going to make a change, but I wouldnít be surprised if hockey began moving away from player fights. Head injuries are not just concerns of football, basketball and baseball players.

According to www.exploratorium.edu/ the average hockey player skates at 22 miles per hour. If you add sticks and the continued ability to fight, hockey is in serious danger of being ruled out of the sport. The NFL and NBA are making serious efforts to change the violent culture of the game. No longer are vicious hits highlighted in football. Intentional violent collisions in basketball are also given stiffer penalties.

The fights are thrilling and I love the charge two players duking it out in the middle of center ice brings to any rivalry match, but hockey is more than just two players fighting. The game has speed, power and grace.† Fake or not, fighting in hockey is skating on thin ice.